Chris Burton watched Manchester United draw a blank against Everton on Monday, but believes a stuttering start will only serve to make the Red Devils a more formidable proposition.
Last Updated: 21/08/12 10:41am
"We didn't show enough penetration."
"We had the possession and made some great openings without actually finishing it."
Words of a man who has just spent £24million on a new striker and ended an opening day encounter at Goodison Park with an enviable collection of attacking talent on display.
The man in question is Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson and he has just seen his Premier League title hopefuls stumble out of the blocks with a 1-0 defeat to North West rivals Everton.
Having seen noisy neighbours Manchester City secure the most dramatic of title successes last season, with only goal difference separating two old adversaries, Ferguson has made a concerted effort this summer to ensure history does not repeat itself.
United's transfer business suggests they are looking to blow the opposition out of the water, with the goals for column taking on added importance.
Robin van Persie, a 29-year-old with just 12 months left on his contract, was acquired from Arsenal for big bucks, with Ferguson admitting after negotiations were completed that Gunners boss Arsene Wenger 'could run a poker school in Govan'.
The fact that United were prepared to go all in and take a lavish spending spree close to the £40million mark shows how seriously they are taking their goal rush this season, and how desperate they are to knock City off their perch.
Things got off to a ropey start on Merseyside, admittedly, with Van Persie only summoned from the bench with 68 minutes on the clock and Wayne Rooney putting in a display more befitting of his recent showings in an England jersey -with a switch away from his favoured central berth leaving him on the fringes of proceedings.
Some of the comments in the aftermath of a narrow defeat at Goodison would have you believe that United have already surrendered the title, that they do not know where the goal is and that they have made a rod for their own back with their transfer dealings - with tactical tinkering now required.
Such talk is ludicrous, with 90 minutes of football in August having little or no impact on the final standings in May.
Ferguson knows that, but he is aware of the need to give those at his disposal a kick up the backside from time to time.
Coming out after the Everton game and admitting that United had failed to play to Van Persie's strengths will have been noted by the press pack in attendance at Goodison and those recovering from what could have been the earliest of hairdryer treatments in the away dressing room.
Nani, Ashley Young, Rooney, Paul Scholes, Shinji Kagawa - all were on the park at the same time as Van Persie, but none were able to create an opportunity of note for the Dutchman.
In fact, the closest United came to restoring parity against the Toffees was a Tom Cleverley effort hacked off the line by England colleague Phil Jagielka.
The Red Devils had just 10 efforts on goal in 90-odd minutes, four on target, compared to Everton's return of 16 attempts, with nine on target.
David de Gea - much maligned last term but seemingly ready to nail down the No.1 spot - was by far the busier goalkeeper and was forced into a number of impressive stops before Marouane Fellaini - the star of Everton's remarkable fight back to claim a 4-4 draw at Old Trafford in April - returned to haunt the Red Devils with a bullet header.
Few, even Ferguson, could deny that Everton were the better team on the night and deserved to take the spoils.
United, though, will get better, of that you can be certain.
Van Persie, it must be noted, has had no pre-season and will take time to find full match sharpness and form understandings with those around him.
Rooney may look out of sorts at the moment, but history suggests that you write him off at your peril.
Danny Welbeck has been rewarded with a new contract and is now an important figure for club and country, while the likes of Nani, Young and Antonio Valencia will provide plenty of ammunition from the flanks.
Paul Scholes will keep things ticking over in midfield and Kagawa looks to be the natural heir to a man fast closing in on his 38th birthday.
No goals on the opening day does not bode well, but it is hardly the end of the world.
Arsenal, too, drew a blank over the weekend, sparking ridiculous reports of how Van Persie's absence has left them up a certain creek without a paddle, but his United bow 48 hours later proves that it is far too early to make sweeping statements and irrational judgements.
Let's wait 10 games or so and reflect then on how United's new-look strike force is faring and how concerned, or encouraged, their Premier League rivals should be.