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Three Very Essential Decisions United Got Wrong In Their Shock Defeat Against Brighton

Manchester United vs Brighton

We noticed some key points as Manchester United plummeted to a 2-1 defeat to Brighton & Hove Albion at the opening weekend of the 2022/23 Premier League season. The Erik ten Hag era got off to a “nightmare” start as the Red Devils ended up losing at home.

Brighton got off to a great start with the United midfield and defence looking out of sorts. All the optimism of pre-season was thrown out and the new manager had a horrendous start at the Theatre of Dreams.

Leandro Trossard, Danny Welbeck and Pascal Gross were the stars for Brighton in what was an impressive win from Graham Potter’s men.

Following a bright start from United, Fernandes should have scored from Scott Mctominay’s cross. But the missed opportunities came back to bite them as Trossard picked out Welbeck’s run in the box. Welbeck pulled the ball back for Gross who was left unmarked at the back post.

Worse was to follow six minutes before the interval as another well-worked Brighton build-up cut open United’s defence and Gross tapped in his second goal.

The visitors were playing more like Ten Hag’s former side Ajax and the United manager was forced to turn to Ronaldo for inspiration who started on the bench. The 2nd half changes did seem to have an impact with Alexis McAllister scoring an own goal to bring United back into the game. However, Brighton held on till the full-time whistle to secure a first-ever win at Old Trafford.

Image obtained via Daily Mail

Let us see the three key points we learnt from the Manchester United vs Brighton game:

1.  Ten Hag Needs To Get Rid Of The Underperforming Players From Last Season

The same players who were responsible for ending Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick’s tenure seem to be continuing the same trend under Ten Hag. Marcus Rashford missed a sitter from Ronaldo’s cross while McFred and Harry Maguire are still making the same mistakes.

Ten Hag is better off giving opportunities to the youngsters like James Garner, Alejandro Garnacho and Zidane Iqbal if the senior players cannot step up to the standards expected by the fans.

2.  McFred Needs To Be Dropped Immediately

Manchester United fell to a 2-1 defeat in their Premier League season opener with Brighton on Sunday afternoon
Image obtained via Reuters

The first look at Erik ten Hag’s Manchester United was far too similar to Ralf Rangnick’s Manchester United due to the inability of McFred to push the attack forward or press properly. Things began to break down in a familiar way between the midfield pairing of Scott McTominay and Fred.

Not pressing Adam Lallana on Brighton’s opener while allowing Danny Welbeck far too much space helped him to play a searching ball for Gross. It shows the need for United to find a proper defensive midfielder, although the signing of Frenkie de Jong is still uncertain. Playing two similar midfielders, neither of whom are actual CDMs is affecting United’s defensive solidity.

3. Eriksen Looks Decent In A Deeper Role And Might Solve Midfield Problems

Christian Eriksen
Image obtained via Reuters

Eriksen was handed an interesting role in this match, as the centre-forward being flanked by Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho and it was a disaster move. Once Eriksen came back into a deeper role, United looked better in possession. He played elegant passes and looked comfortable with the ball. If United had a proper striker, we could have seen the ball being played over the defence which is his strength.

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Without having the right players in the squad, Ten Hag can’t begin to instil his style at Old Trafford. Sancho and Rashford were isolated when they tried to run at the Brighton defence. Eriksen was better when he was allowed to drop deeper into midfield.

It will be interesting to watch how Ten Hag responds to this defeat as Ronaldo’s introduction also didn’t improve the team attack much at all. United showed very little in terms of positive play throughout the 90 minutes, but they did show how far they have to go if they want to be a Champions League side.

Ten Hag’s job was never going to be an easy one, but he has quite a mountain to climb to turn this ship around, and after ninety minutes, his concerns are likely increasing.

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