Some Manchester United players lacked focus the moment they arrived at Crystal Palace

Rasmus Hojlund made a beeline for some YouTube gamers when he arrived at Selhurst Park. On current form, Hojlund is likelier to score playing on Fifa than on the pitch.

Hojlund has scored one goal fewer than the oft-derided Nicolas Jackson has for Chelsea. Jackson is 22 and Hojlund 21, and also arrived in England from a 'big five' league. They are both leading the line in pressurised environments, so the comparison is valid.

Cody Gakpo, 25 today, also has a goal more than Hojlund. Gakpo cost a final fee of £44.3m and Jackson moved for £32m. The £72m Hojlund is blameless for Manchester United overpaying but when he is wobbling appearances matter. Deviating to greet some influencers whilst on a run of one goal in eight games matters. It is now one in nine.

Diogo Dalot, the longest-serving starter in the United line-up, offered the assembled gamers a salute. He was later wiping his brow after a night up against Eberechi Eze.

A matchgoing friend stayed at the Hilton Croydon, where United checked into on Monday afternoon, and saw the team depart for the ground. He said Erik ten Hag "looked beat up".

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There were around two dozen supporters present for United's send-off and the matchgoer said Ten Hag did not acknowledge them. He gave the away followers in the Arthur Wait Stand a swerve later that evening. The matchgoer left at half-time to return to the Hilton.

A backlash was never forthcoming. Another friend in the away end described the scenes at full-time as "poignant". Every United player applauded the travelling support and it was reciprocated.

"We have seen the fans, they are backing us from minute one to the end," Ten Hag said at his post-match press conference. "They were behind the team, so I guess they see the problems we have.

"I'm really happy, pleased with their support and the team is really pleased with it and we should have taken their fighting spirit onto the pitch."

The reception for the players was not as supportive after United were trounced 4-0 in London last season. The players were greeted with invective after the generational nadir at Brentford. Crystal Palace was the seasonal nadir.

"We let each other down and you get the worst defeat," Ten Hag admitted. It was a mayday on May Day for United.

The season-ticket holder who witnessed the "poignance" is still of the opinion Ten Hag should stay. One hopes he doesn't mind my saying it is akin to Nadine Dorries remaining supportive of Boris Johnson during his final weeks in Number 10.

Nine of United's starters were bought by, or debuted, under Ten Hag. The starting XI was assembled at a cost of £404.5million, around the figure United have invested in signings on Ten Hag's watch.

Oliver Glasner was appointed by Palace less than three months ago and his fingerprints are already all over the team. Unai Emery, Ange Postecoglou and Andoni Iraola have done similarly at Aston Villa, Tottenham and Bournemouth.

All joined their incumbent clubs after Ten Hag was paraded by United, still devoid of a style and mired in an identity crisis. What Ten Hag witnessed at Selhurst on Monday evening was far worse than when he sat in the directors' box in the main stand as he prepared to take charge two years ago.

Glasner meted out a beating on Ten Hag and there could be more brutal beatings to come. Arsenal have not won at Old Trafford in the league with a crowd present since September 2006 but will be formidable opponents on Sunday, Newcastle have done a number on United twice this season and Brighton, winners in their past four league matches against United, have got their number.

A season-ticket holder who sits by the Stretford End tunnel suggested after the draw against Burnley it could be United's final point of the season. There is also an onerous FA Cup final against City.

"There’s an etiquette amongst United fans," the friend who stayed in the away end said. "They know when to dish out a b********g and know when to get behind them, especially when they still have a cup final to play."

Do not be surprised to hear the throwback chant "We'll support you ever more" at any of United's final three league fixtures. Booing has soundtracked much of United's season yet the mood was more caustic during the FA Cup semi-final that ended in a sheepish success than at Palace.

The United players enjoyed superb support on a God-forsaken Monday evening kick-off time at a remote ground. Plenty will have been delayed by a crash on the M25 and arriving home at gone 2am on a working day.

United fans have trekked to Brentford, Chelsea, Bournemouth, Wembley and Palace within a 38-day period and the team have not outright won any of them. The United end emptied quickly after the sole success of the penalty shootout against Coventry.

They will be there at Brighton on Sunday week and at Wembley on the 25th. Francis, a seven-year-old, may be among the travelling supporters. Dressed in a United home shirt, he participated in the half-time penalty contest at Selhurst and scored.

United's marksman fired blanks.