5 things learned as Man United lose 2-1 vs Brighton on opening day

Well, that didn’t exactly go as planned, but what did we learn as Man United lost 2-1 vs Brighton during the first match of the season?

Erik ten Hag is probably furious after that. This Manchester United side didn’t play the way they had in pre-season, looking like boys against a very good Brighton & Hove Albion side who played out their gameplan to perfection.

It’s a real jolt back down to earth for a United team who have so much work ahead of them, during a season which is going to be a supremely long one if today is an indicator of how it’s going to play out.

What did we learn? Well, a fair bit actually. Let’s get right into it…

Erik ten Hag needs help

It goes without saying, big money has to be spent over the next few weeks. This squad is so thin on the ground in so many areas, while starting the campaign with the ‘McFred’ partnership that struggled so mightily last season was never going to be a recipe for success.

We need depth in pretty much every area of the field and that was evident today. When you’re starters aren’t performing, Ten Hag has to have genuine quality to call upon. He absolutely doesn’t have that available right now.

With time running out in the window, United have to act so quickly…

McFred = disaster

Fred looked decent in pre-season but he’s reverted back to type here. I lost count of how many times he gave away the ball in really dangerous areas, while he shied away from the battle against a Brighton side who were really up for it.

Scott McTominay was absolutely no better. He could’ve seen red for a pretty shocking tackle in the first 45, while the Scotland international just struggled with the intensity of the game. He tried to hide away, but Brighton exposed his weaknesses time and time again and that was the basis of a really poor result.

No presence up top

Even when a half-fit Cristiano Ronaldo came on, United had no focal point of their attack. It was a pretty easy game for the three Brighton centre-halves, who were always in control of the situation.

When you’re playing this false nine system, your wingers have to come to the fore and shine. It’s fair to say both Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho did not have good games. Neither really looked like threatening the Brighton back line until the final moments when the Reds were trying to come back from a losing situation. It was massively disappointing.

Christian Eriksen looks decent

United haven’t had that midfielder who can pick a pass and create chances from in-between the lines. The Dane was a small positive on a day of real disappointment for the Red Devils.

He looked better when deployed in that deeper role after Ronaldo came on but he was undoubtedly the best player on the pitch in United colours during this one. Eriksen will be the first to admit there’s also room for improvement from his perspective, too.

Danny Welbeck, anyone…?

Man, Welbz always has a blinder against us ever since he left the club, but today was probably his best display vs his old employers.

The Englishman was the perfect focal point of the Brighton attack today, holding up the ball, threatening in-behind and being a general menace. He really gave Lisandro Martinez the runaround on his Premier League debut and all credit to him. He played superb and I’d argue he’d have started for United today if Welbeck was still a Red Devil!

Onwards and upwards, eh Reds?

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About Jordan Street 19149 Articles
Mancunian. Red through and through. Season Ticket holder block E332.

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