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Ex-Red Devils winger Wilfried Zaha bagged a brace on his latest return to the club after Andros Townsend's early opener, with £35 million ($45m) summer signing Donny van de Beek grabbing what amounted to nothing more than aconsolation goal for the hosts on his debut.
Solskjaer's men looked woefully short of match fitness after a short pre-season on the back of their run to the Europa League semi-finals in 2019-20, and are now already playing catch-up in their bid to close the gap on Liverpool and Manchester City at the top of the Premier League.
It has been suggested that United will need to step up their recruitment drive in order to avoid another season of mediocrity, with club legend Gary Neville among those to criticise the board for the way they have conducted their business during the current transfer window.
Berbatov also believes extra reinforcements are a necessity, particularly after watching Victor Lindelof struggle alongside Harry Maguire in the heart of the Red Devils defence against Palace.
The former United striker was disappointed to see Solskjaer's side get off to such a poor start, andhopes that changes will be made before the market closes next month.
Berbatov told Betfair : "I said Manchester United need to hit the ground running, but they did the exact opposite at the weekend.
"It was only the first game, but they looked awful - slow, no transition between the lines, I don't remember many efforts on target, and all of that speaks volumes about the attacking prowess of the team. In the end, Palace won deservedly.
"We're always going to have the VAR debate in football, and once a ball touches a hand in the box, you'll get people on both sides. It's hard to see it resolved entirely.
"Some will be happy, some won't, even with the retaking of the penalty. It's no excuse for United, the performance just wasn't good, and hopefully, it will just be a first-game blip.
"If we just based it on the first game then United are miles off the speed of the other top teams in the league, and so I hope it is just down to it being game one. If it becomes a trend, it could be a very long season.
"I and others have big expectations for United this season. They need a centre-half, and probably further recruitment also to be competitive. At the end of the day, if Crystal Palace can score three past you, you are in trouble.
"As I said, if we only judge on this game, United need to buy a whole new squad! But we can't over-react to one game on its own.
"They have less than two weeks until the window closes, and they can play some more games to figure out what they need in that time, but it's not easy. It can be hard to sign players, maybe the players don't want to come, it is hard to say, but their defence is what they need to work on.