TERRACE TALK: Man United - Let’s hope this isn’t the third straight false dawn

If we’ve learned one thing since Fergie left, it’s to avoid reading too much into a manager’s proper debut.

Remember Poor David’s glorious opener, which proved to be about as reliable an indicator of forthcoming attractions as the dodgiest of B-movie trailers? 

Or Louis Van Gaal’s, which although rocky, contained no hint of just how soul-destroying his team was to become?

Nevertheless, it’d take superhuman self-restraint not to grab yesterday’s encouraging display and try it on for size. Oooh, suits you, sir! 

Add Pogba, Rashford and Smalling whilst removing Fellaini and Rooney and Blind, and we might just have ourselves something worth watching at last.

To be fair, the Belgian Bogbrush did have one of his less embarrassing games, making something of a mockery of the overheated prematch Twitterstorm that had greeted his unexpected selection.

Rooney, however, succeeded only in uniting an often divided fanbase in agreement that he was awful, goal notwithstanding.

I mentioned here the other day that some conspiracy theorists suspect Mourinho is prepared to let Rooney, Fellaini and others display their lack of worth for all to see as a prelude to getting rid, in a move summarised as "enough rope to hang". 

Much as we might like this to be true, it seems too Machiavellian even for José, whom one does imagine to have a pile of dark arts spellbooks by the bedside.

Whatever the truth of it, one hopes José has looked across the park to note how brutally but necessarily Guardiola has dealt with another over-rated Ingerlund star, Joe Hart. 

Any further displays like yesterday’s from The Unspeakable Scouser must surely bring forth The Unspellable Armenian.

Incidentally, how pleasing to see our (admittedly slightly tarnished) heart-throb Juan Mata perform well and score, following the so-called "humiliation" inflicted upon him at Wembley last week. 

BBC TV pundit Danny Murphy had loudly claimed after the Spaniard was hooked that it showed Mata would clearly not be a United player by Christmas. 

For what it’s worth, I can reveal that Ed Woodward gave one of his tiresome secret briefings last week, during which he intimated that he "did not expect" Mata to be sold. 

Not exactly a wiggle-free commitment, perhaps, although at least it suggests he may be given a chance by his former nemesis. 

Whether that chance extends beyond September 1st is another matter.

As for Zlatan, he has added a new definition for the phrase One Hit Wonder. That’s two successive matches during which he has done little but look sexily moody and, erm, score a superb clinching goal. 

There are some fans who get annoyed by players who make a habit of this M.O., just as there were those who used to moan about The Blessed Berb taking figurative fag-breaks mid-match.

Shun such fans, for they are the joy-crushing bores who sincerely deploy phrases like "covers every blade of grass". 

So now we await the grand re-entry of Prodigal Pogba, perhaps to be witnessed this very week as we all experience the novelty of Friday night football - prima facie, a marginally less unwelcome novelty than the Thursday night football we have yet to face, courtesy of the Europa League. 

Don Revie once famously declared that his club "did not play on Thursdays" and no traditionalist can welcome the prospect of United now playing on every day of the week at some point this season. 

Little by little, The Man chips away at our beloved old community edifices, and yet we pay to watch him do so. Funny old game, init...

<b>Here's a little extra sport. Watch the latest BallTalk for the best sports chat and analysis: Who will be Premier League Champions 2016/17?</b>


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