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Man Utd slump to loss on EPL return

 LONDON, Sept 20: Manchester United began its Premier League campaign with a performance as disjointed as its offseason. Maybe the 3-1 home loss to Crystal Palace on Saturday shouldn’t really have come as a surprise.

 After all, United only ended a pandemic-prolonged 2019-20 season 33 days ago with a demoralising loss to Sevilla in the Europa League semifinals. Since then, high-profile midfielder Paul Pogba contracted the coronavirus, captain Harry Maguire was convicted of assault in Greece (he has been granted a retrial), and young star Mason Greenwood was dropped by England – and made to train alone – for breaching coronavirus rules.

To top it all off, United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was without the majority of his squad for more than a week because of international commitments. Still, how to explain such a listless display against an injury-hit Palace team? Today, Solskjaer said, was a performance you don’t see very often from this group.

There was the sight of Pogba repeatedly giving the ball away. Maguire and fellow centre half Victor Lindelof constantly got twisted and turned. Marcus Rashford was peripheral on the left wing. Greenwood only played the second half. – AP

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