AFTER the final whistle Erik ten Hag’s assistant Steve McClaren resembled a schoolteacher trying to keep the class together.
Stood in the middle of the pitch with his arms outstretched, he was trying to get the players to stay as one and acknowledge the, by now, half-full stadium.
Nobody was taking any notice.
A few gave some meek applause, Mason Mount bravely walked around the pitch on his own to show his appreciation.
It was a sad, almost pathetic, microcosm of a fractured, failing club.
READ MORE ON MAN UTD
Well, it looked weak on paper with eight changes. The performance suggested otherwise.
Meanwhile, the Red Devils side full of star names and highly-paid trophy winners wilted.
All eaten up and spat out by the Manchester United monster nobody has been able to control since Sir Alex Ferguson let go of the reins.
Most read in Football
It was noticeable towards the end of Van Gaal’s tenure, in particular, how the players had given up even trying to motivate each other.
That was on show again on Wednesday. After Newcastle’s third goal went in, they all just stood there in silence.
Victor Lindelof briefly clapped his hands in a gesture to gee everyone up, but the race was run even though there was still 30 minutes on the clock.
There was a moment during a break in play when expensive, one-trick pony Antony went over to the technical area to call for a drink of water.
He and Ten Hag did not even look at each other.
Then, when the manager made a triple substitution to try to turn the game around, Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes looked like they were being asked to push a peanut up a mountain.
United legend Gary Neville posted on X yesterday: “On the pitch the players in shock, the performances woeful and a manager struggling. We’ve seen it before, we know how it ends and we’ve had enough.
“Last night we saw the Theatre of Dreams turn into the Theatre of Nothing, every single United fan bored and flat.
“In the last two matches Manchester United have played two clubs that have installed proper football departments to support the team on and off the pitch. The complete opposite to United.
“We haven’t got a sporting director!”
Of course, he always puts the blame on the owners rather than the manager and players.
But Ten Hag has been backed in everything he has wanted to do, with £374million spent on players.
This is very much his team in his second season in charge.
He bought Mount and does not know what to do with him.
He asked the club to go the extra yard to secure Antony’s signature at an eventual cost of £85.5m.
He decided Rasmus Hojlund was the answer up front, when he is clearly not ready for the task at hand.
He got rid of David de Gea and brought in a goalkeeper who could soon be in the treatment room with lumbago given the number of times he is picking the ball out the net.
And they are his ‘tactics’.
It was all going so well, too. But when it unravels for a manager at Old Trafford, it happens very quickly.
One without Raphael Varane on Wednesday night, ill apparently.
He has the look of someone who spent the pre-season with the media rather than the other players.
It is beginning to feel a bit like Bastian Schweinsteiger with those two.
Big name who has already been there, seen it and done it and this does not matter so much, particularly when the chips are down.
When Casemiro joined, after United had lost their opening two games last season, he said: “Tell them I’ll fix it.”
It was title-winning former Arsenal boss George Graham who said: “Never buy a player who thinks he is taking a step down to join you.”
In other words, one who thinks he is doing you a favour.
Read More on The Sun
So, as United prepare for Saturday’s trip to Fulham, the question is: Can the listing ship be turned around?
All the signs are it is heading for the rocks once more.
MAN UTD NEWS LIVE: Stay up to date with all of the latest transfer and takeover news from Old Trafford