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07th Aug 2022

Man United start Erik ten Hag era with disappointing defeat to Brighton

Robert Redmond

Man United 1- 2 Brighton

Manchester United have started the Erik ten Hag era with a defeat against Brighton and Hove Albion at Old Trafford. Pascal Gross scored twice for Brighton to give Graham Potter’s side a deserved win at Old Trafford.

United pulled a goal back in the second half and pushed hard for an equaliser, but couldn’t find the finishing touch. Ten Hag’s tenure as Man United manager begins in the worst possible fashion as the same old issues were on show for the Red Devils.

Man United Brighton Player Ratings

Man United v Brighton: First half

The talk before the match was, once again, centred on Cristiano Ronaldo, who did not start the game. Ten Hag, who handed debuts to Lisandro Martinez and Christian Eriksen, opted to put the Portugal captain on the bench as the forward had played just 45 minutes in pre-season.

In Ronaldo’s absence, Man United played without a centre-forward in a fluid 3-4-3 formation. Bruno Fernandes, Eriksen and Marcus Rashford all took turns leading the line and United were the dominant side in the opening few minutes of the game.

United should have taken the lead after seven minutes when Scott McTominay’s shot deflected across the box and landed with Bruno Fernandes. The Portugal midfielder was unmarked 12 yards from goal but skied his shot over the bar.

However, that was as good as it got for Man United in the first half. McTominay’s reckless challenge on Caicedo, which came after he failed to control a simple pass, shifted the game’s momentum and within a few minutes, the visitors were ahead.

Danny Welbeck made a well-timed run behind Harry Maguire and cut the ball back across the penalty area for Gross to tap home.

Brighton deserved to take the lead and Man United, despite having a new manager, displayed the same old failings, with the team crumbling under pressure.

And it got worse for the home side before half-time.

Gross scored his second goal and doubled Brighton’s lead after 37 minutes. The midfielder scored another tap-in after David de Gea palmed the ball into his path.

Man United v Brighton: Second half

Ronaldo came off the bench early in the second half, replacing Fred, as United chased the game, and he created the team’s first goal-scoring chance of the second half.

The Portugal forward played a dangerous pass across the penalty area and perfectly teed up Marcus Rashford.

The England star, however, missed from a few yards out. Brighton goalkeeper Robert Sanchez made an excellent save, but Rashford undoubtedly should have scored.

At the other end of the pitch, meanwhile, Man United were lucky not to concede a penalty after Lisandro Martinez pushed Welbeck over in the box.

Ten Hag’s team, however, pulled a goal back 20 minutes from the end.

Sanchez attempted to punch a corner clear but missed. Diogo Dalot connected with the ball, and it bounced towards the goal, hitting off Alexis MacAllister last before rolling into the net.

Man United pushed hard for an equaliser and flooded forward, but created few clear-cut chances in the final stages of the game.

Ten Hag and United could have no complaints about starting the season with a defeat.

Man United v Brighton: Player ratings

Man United.

David De Gea: 4
Diogo Dalot: 6
Harry Maguire: 4
Lisandro Martinez: 5
Luke Shaw: 4
Scott Mctominay: 3
Fred: 4
Jadon Sancho: 4
Christian Eriksen: 5
Bruno Fernandes: 5
Marcus Rashford: 4


Cristiano Ronaldo: 5
Donny van de Beek: 5
Anthony Elanga: N/A
Tyrell Malacia: N/A
Alejandro Garnacho: N/A


Robert Sanchez: 6
Adam Webster: 6
Lewis Dunk: 7
Joel Veltman: 7
Leandro Trossard: 7
Moisés Caicedo: 7
Adam Lallana: 7
Solly March: 6
Alexis MacAllister: 6
Pascal Gross: 8
Danny Welbeck: 8


Tariq Lamptey: 6
Enock Mwepu: 5
Levi Colwill: N/A