But with the closed transfer window manager Jose Mourinho has no alternative to try to draw on his experience and skill to get the best out of a team that many think is missing the quality and character to be real title candidates.
The big question is whether Mourinho still has everything in it to get bribed by a team that finished 15th last season?
Liverpool's former manager, Graeme Souness, now an expert on Sky Sports television, believes that Mourinho has a difficult task.
"He is in a very difficult place, is not he? We think he has dropped out of the Chelsea players and that ultimately cost him his job," Souness said.
"As a manager you have to push and push them to the point where you almost fall out, but you can not cross that line otherwise you end up with two or three of the best men and they can get you out of the door."
Souness was devastating in his evaluation of the team in Old Trafford.
"Before Fergie (former manager Alex Ferguson) goes to United, this is the most average group of players I have ever seen in the club, they have absolutely nothing about them, they are not there or something and it just seems no leader pointing fingers. & # 39;
Although the association of Souness with Liverpool may cause some to doubt his objectivity towards their arch rivals, his last point is a former United, to which Paul Scholes agrees.
"There is a lack of leaders in the team," Scholes told Optus Sport in Australia.
"We thought Paul Pogba would be the ideal candidate to be that leader, but he was not there today, he had a very bad game again, he is so inconsistent," he said.
Mourinho had expressed his disappointment at the failure of the club to attract an additional central defender and the poor performance of Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof supported his position.
But as critics of Mourinho have remarked quickly: both central defenders were signed by the former manager of Chelsea and Real Madrid.
Pogba is another signatory of Mourinho, along with Alexis Sanchez, who missed the Sunday match but still has to show his best since he signed with Arsenal in January.
United faces a tough test when they organize Tottenhham Hotspur on Monday, but the good news for Mourinho is that the list of matches was good for his team.
After Spurs, United faced Burnley, Watford, Wolverhampton Wanderers and West Ham United in September.
Mourinho will also look forward to Nemanja Matic, Jesse Lingard, Ander Herrera, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling who are fit and involved again.
While Manchester City's 6-1 victory over Huddersfield Town on Sunday emphasized the gap between the two Manchester clubs, former United skipper Gary Neville believes there is enough quality in Old Trafford for Mourinho's side to the top four to belong.
"It will get better and United will get stronger with players back, I think United ends in the top four," he said.
"But that has not always been the norm for the club that usually strives for titles," he said.
Indeed, United fans expect much more, but after Sunday's defeat many would be relieved if they could reach their minimum goal this season.
(Reporting by Simon Evans, editing by Ed Osmond)