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EPL: Manchester United defeated by Swansea on opening day

updated 2:49 PM EDT, Sat August 16, 2014
Wayne Rooney of Manchester United looks dejected during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Swansea City at Old Trafford on August 16, 2014.
Wayne Rooney of Manchester United looks dejected during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Swansea City at Old Trafford on August 16, 2014.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Manchester United suffer 2-1 defeat to Swansea City on EPL opening day
  • Goals from Ki Sung Yueng and Gylfi Sigurdsson ensure victory for Swans
  • Wayne Rooney scores overhead kick but United fail to inspire

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(CNN) -- It was billed as a bright new beginning.

But in the end Manchester United's opening day fixture of the EPL season bore all the hallmarks of its recent troubled past as Swansea City upset Louis Van Gaal's side to win 2-1 at Old Trafford Saturday.

Goals from Ki Sung Yueng and Gylfi Sigurdsson either side of a spectacular Wayne Rooney overhead kick ensured the Swans were full value for the three points.

Apart from a Rooney free-kick that cracked the post midway through the second half, United rarely threatened or looked like a side capable of getting its league campaign off to a winning start.

"It is very disappointing that we have lost our first home match," Van Gaal told BT Sport in his post game interview.

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"We didn't reach the level we can play at. That is disappointing because we have done it much better and when you cannot do it in your first home match that is disappointing, especially for the fans."

The feelgood factor had seemed to have returned to United since Van Gaal's appointment earlier in the summer.

A busy pre-season witnessed promising victories over Liverpool, Roma, Valencia and Real Madrid.

But Saturday's performance had more in common with last year's disastrous campaign under David Moyes which saw the Red Devils finish seventh, their lowest placing in Premier League history.

"We were very nervous in first half, made the wrong choices and that is a pity. In the second half we never played as a team, therefore I'm responsible," Van Gaal continued.

"We had more chances than Swansea but that shall say nothing about the result. It is the goals that count.

"I thought we would win (when the scores were tied at 1-1 in the second half) but because we are not playing as a team in the second half we made the wrong decisions going forward."

Van Gaal intimated later in an interview with MUTV that there would be further signings arriving at Old Trafford before the transfer window slams shut at the end of August.

Judging by this performance, the prospective new arrivals can't arrive soon enough.

United began with a 3-5-2 system similar to that employed by Van Gaal's Dutch side at the World Cup earlier this summer before switching to a 4-4-1-1 as the game progressed.

There were competitive debuts to new $48 million midfield signing Ander Herrera and 20-year-old center half Tyler Blackett.

Newly installed captain Wayne Rooney led the line alongside Javier Hernandez with Robin Van Persie still missing after he was given extended holiday to recover from his World Cup exertions.

Like many a visitor to Old Trafford, Swansea sat in deep and attempted to play on the break.

It was a tactic that would work to perfection as United pressed and dominated possession but produced few goal-scoring opportunities.

Ki was a standout in midfield for Swansea while Ashley Williams was his usual commanding self at the back, organizing when required and reading the game exceptionally well.

"We have been working hard in pre-season on defensive shape and we can get even better at that but there were pleasing signs in the way we stuck together and the goals we scored against a side of Manchester United's resources," said Swansea manager Gary Monk.

"We have worked on the mentality side of things so that even when things go against us we continue to believe in what we are doing."

Having lost a raft of key players over the summer, including Chico Flores, Michel Worm and Ben Davies, many observers had questioned whether Swansea would be relegation candidates.

With more solid, mature performances like this over the coming season such predictions will be made to look badly placed.

Read: Who will win the English Premier League?

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