That’s the verdict of Danny Murphy, who thinks Jose Mourinho’s men are more worried about losing games in the first 45 minutes.
The Red Devils fell behind again with Callum Wilson netting in the 11th minute after Ryan Fraser had earlier wasted a fine goalscoring opportunity.
Bournemouth might have ran away with it but paid for their profligacy with Anthony Martial equalising for United despite the Cherries’ superior play.
United improved after their substitutions and one of their introductions, Marcus Rashford, was on hand to fire in a stoppage-time winner after Paul Pogba’s cross.
But despite claiming the full three points, Mourinho was furious with his side’s first-half display.
He told BT Sport: “We were defensively awful. Absolutely awful. And when I say defensively I don’t just mean my defenders, I mean as a team.
“At half-time I thought I was the luckiest manager in the Premier League because to be 1-1 in a half where it should be like 5-2 or 6-2, we were really lucky because we were really poor.
“We didn’t press. The work we did during the week – I feel like people watching this game won’t believe how hard we trained this week. The first half was a disaster.”
In their last seven matches in all competitions, United have scored just twice in the first half – conceding seven goals.
By contrast, in the second half of those matches, they have netted eight times and conceded just three.
And Mourinho admitted that he cannot reason for United’s slow starts.
“I can’t understand,” he added.
“My assistants were saying this is the best warm-up of the season. The week was a very good week of work, so I can’t believe how bad we started.”
And offering a possible explanation for United’s tendency to begin matches sluggishly, Murphy told Match of the Day that Mourinho’s men look shorn of self-belief early on in games.
He laughed: “Well if the manager doesn’t know…
“You know what, I think there’s a lack of confidence at the moment.
“In that when they start games, they’re more worried about losing the game than thinking, ‘We’re just going to go and win it!’
“Then when they go a goal down, they play with a freedom.”
United will know they cannot afford another slow start when they face Juventus in the Champions League in Italy on Wednesday night (8pm) – though the Serie A champions are unbeaten in 14 games in all competitions this term, having won 13.