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Featured Image Credit: Tifo Football/SkySports/Alamy
Thanks to a first half brace by Pascal Gross, Brighton managed to win the game 2-1. The victory was also the first time in their entire history that they managed to win against United at Old Trafford.
It was a nightmare start at the ‘Theatre of Dreams’ for Ten Hag, a drastic reality check after a largely positive pre season.
"To me that's not giving 100%"— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) August 8, 2022
Roy Keane said there's no personalities or characters and there is a lack of football intelligence at Manchester United after their opening defeat to Brighton 😬pic.twitter.com/138eB4USKg
United’s midfield took the majority of the criticism that came their way, and it’s easy to see why.
A detailed video analysis of the Red Devils’ performance by Tifo Football is grim viewing for United fans.
The major problem uncovered by Tifo is the fact that United players take far too much time on the ball, they are slow and lethargic when in possession.
David de Gea did not have the best of times on Sunday, though still one of the best shot stoppers in world football, his distribution continues to be his biggest downfall, as shown against Brighton.
New signing Lisandro Martinez also struggled on his Premier League debut as he was often forced to launch the ball up field aimlessly after taking too long to make up his mind.
Captain Harry Maguire was no better, his positioning and decision making were again put under the microscope as he failed to command the back four.
Brighton identified United’s midfield as the main target as Fred and Scott McTominay would often gift possession away in extremely dangerous areas. Due to their inability to cope with the pressure, the likes of Christian Eriksen and Bruno Fernandes had to drop deeper in order to get a touch of the football, leaving United’s attacking options limited, playing into Brighton’s plan.
As a result of this, Brighton were able to push their wing backs much further up to create overloads out wide, the likes of Solly March and Leandro Trossard were vital in both of Pascal Gross’ goals.
After the introduction of Cristiano Ronaldo in the second half, Eriksen played deeper in midfield and things began to improve as they actually had a player in midfield that can play a pass and someone at the top of the pitch that can pressurise the Brighton defence, but it was too little too late as the Seagulls held on for a famous victory.
It is clear as day that United are desperate for a top quality midfielder, hence why they have been chasing Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong for such a long time. However, time is running out for Ten Hag to add to his squad, De Jong’s unwillingness to leave Barcelona will do United no good.
Next up for Ten Hag and his side is a trip to Brentford. It is likely to be another roller coaster of a season for the Old Trafford faithful, strap yourselves in, it is going to be a rough ride.