London: Manchester United`s deficiencies were laid bare by relegation battlers Sunderland on Saturday as a 1-0 home loss punctured the optimism induced by Ryan Giggs`s promotion to caretaker manager.
The long-serving Giggs`s first taste of managing his boyhood club had a cathartic effect last week in a 4-0 home win against relegation-threatened Norwich City which lifted some of the gloom of the ill-fated and short David Moyes era.
However, in-form Sunderland were worthy of a first Old Trafford victory since 1968 - a result which condemned United to a seventh home league defeat, their worst record since 1973-74 when they were relegated.
While things are certainly nowhere near as bad as during the dark days of the early 70s, the scale of the re-building job required during the summer was there for all to see.
Giggs, who is likely to step aside with Dutchman Louis van Gaal favourite to become the club`s new manager, looked a frustrated figure as he stood in the technical area in a smart suit, unable to influence what was happening in front of him.
"We were putting five or 10-yard passes astray and if you do that in the Premier League you get punished," Giggs said.
"We`ve had a problem at home all season, it`s not been good enough. I can`t tell you anything about the next manager, I am just concentrating on the next game.
"The quality is still there in the dressing room but we didn`t show it."
Victory would have given United a good chance to at least claim the consolation prize of Europa League football next season by edging out Tottenham Hotspur to sixth place.
That now looks unlikely as they remain six points behind the Londoners in seventh with two games left.
The 40-year-old Welshman`s side huffed and puffed in search of an equaliser to Sebastian Larsson`s goal but never really looked dangerous, especially with Wayne Rooney missing through illness and injury.
Giggs, still registered as a player at the club where he has won every honour in club football, sent on Robin van Persie, Danny Welbeck and Adnam Januzaj after the break, all to no avail.
"The players were a bit flat, why I don`t know," Giggs said.
"We controlled the game but lacked that bit of quality in the final third."
Giggs said he might even consider picking himself for Tuesday`s game against Hull City.
"I`ll train over the next few days and if I`m fit enough I`ll play," he said.