Manchester United’s season took a drastic turn for the worse as they crashed to a humiliating 4-0 defeat at Everton in the Premier League.
First-half goals from Richarlison and Gylfi Sigurdsson stunned Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s lethargic side before Lucas Digne and Theo Walcott piled on the misery at Goodison Park.
The loss was United’s sixth in eight games in all competitions and turned up the heat on Solskjaer and his misfiring players, whose fortunes have slumped since the Norwegian was made permanent manager last month.
United, who remain sixth in the table, have now conceded 48 goals in the Premier League this term, their most in a top-flight campaign since 1979.
They arrived on Merseyside looking to bounce back from their midweek defeat in Barcelona and reinvigorate their top-four push but they never got started.
Romelu Lukaku, restored up front against his former club, struggled to get into the game and Paul Pogba did not impose himself in midfield.
Everton applied all the early pressure, winning a succession of corners and free-kicks that allowed them to create problems in the United box.
The hosts’ first serious opportunity fell to Richarlison following a set-piece. David De Gea produced a brilliant reflex save to keep out the Brazilian’s first effort and the striker turned the rebound wide.
Richarlison was soon to get another chance, however, and this time he made it count. Thirteen minutes had gone when Lucas Digne launched a long throw into the area and Dominic Calvert-Lewin flicked on. Richarlison met it with an acrobatic volley that flew into the net.
United got some relief when Pogba launched a long ball from inside his own half and Marcus Rashford raced in on goal but the England forward’s half-volley flew narrowly over. Rashford also blasted a free-kick over but Everton soon regained control.
Sigurdsson doubled the lead from a quick counter-attack in the 28th minute. Nemanja Matic backed off enough to allow Sigurdsson to cut inside and unleash a fierce low drive from 30 yards. De Gea was slow to react and the ball shot into the bottom corner.
Things could have got worse as Phil Jones needed to produce a fine challenge to cut out another break and Richarlison fired another effort at De Gea after a Diogo Dalot mistake.
The interval failed to re-energise United, who conceded again 11 minutes after the restart.
Everton had suffered a blow by losing Richarlison to injury but it did not dampen their threat and Digne lashed in a long-range shot after De Gea punched clear from a corner.
De Gea also needed to react quickly to kick clear a Sigurdsson corner off the line as it swerved dangerously towards the near post.
Yet there was no hiding place for United. Walcott, who replaced Richarlison, added the fourth as Everton were again allowed to break all too quickly. He was released by Sigurdsson and showed his composure as he closed in on goal to slip the ball past De Gea.
United started to look desperate as Anthony Martial theatrically fell to the ground in the penalty area after minimal contract. The Frenchman blasted another chance wide of target and Rashford shot over before the game petered out.
The United fans voiced their support for Solskjaer but the team’s form is a serious concern with a tricky derby against Manchester City and a clash with Chelsea in the next week.