Man United Couldn’t Do The Basics & That Produced A Woeful Performance

Manchester United were humbled by Brighton & Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium today.

A lot of United’s problems stemmed from the fact that they couldn’t do the footballing basics, they then panicked and to be fair to Brighton they took full advantage of the situation.

We all know that The Red Devils had a poor summer, with manager Jose Mourinho left disappointed by his board’s lack of movement in the transfer market. He was desperate to get a new centre-back in, yet Ed Woodward didn’t deliver in that department.

It was in defence that United’s woes really started to surface against The Seagulls.

Victor Lindelof, a Jose buy, hasn’t really settled into the English game. The Swedish international clearly doesn’t like being the left-sided centre-back and struggles when he’s up against a physical striker. He certainly didn’t enjoy being up against Glenn Murray in today’s Premier League encounter.

Eric Bailly is usually the more composed of United’s centre-halves but even Ivorian played like a headless chicken this afternoon. He struggled in the air especially at set-pieces, didn’t look comfortable with the ball at his feet and gave away a penalty with a poor challenge that didn’t really need to be made.

The defence as a whole were continually poor in possession, struggled to make meaningful tackles and their positioning was all over the place!

It didn’t get much better the further up the park you went.

Anthony Martial, Juan Mata, Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard didn’t offer enough going forward. There was very little width and the balls into the box were either non-existent or poor. United didn’t have any urgency in their game and they weren’t direct enough in the wide areas.

Much has been made about Paul Pogba recently. He gave mature disciplined performances for Les Bleus as they won the World Cup in the summer and Paul produced a significant display he captained Man Utd in their opening league match, a game they won at Old Trafford.

Yet at Brighton, we saw the frustrated Pogba. A player that struggles to make an easy pass, yet he continually went for the impossible ones which just gave possession straight to the opposition. He didn’t get forward enough nor did he win enough tackles. When United needed a leader to bring composure to the team, Paul Pogba went missing. His penalty didn’t change the ninety-three minutes that proceeded it.

New boy Fred wasn’t much better. He wasn’t direct enough and his passes weren’t as creative as they should’ve been in the second half. The midfielder also got a bit rash with some of his challenges. The Brazilian was brought in to add extra drive into the Man United midfield and that didn’t happen today. That being said he’s only just arrived in England and he’ll no doubt improve as he starts to settle in.

I’m not sure Romelu Lukaku offered enough up-top either. He didn’t bully the Brighton defence nor did he use his pace to any great effect. The Belgian international had two chances and put one a way. But in truth he should have scored the first chance also, to not even hit the target is shocking for a forward of his ability and that kind of helped set the tone. He too went missing, although he did lack quality service.

The thing is Manchester United lost these types of games last season and that allowed Manchester City the chance to build up a gap. It’s already started this term and they can’t allow it to grow.

Man United need to forget the drama of the summer and they need to get the basics right. If they can’t then it will be another dreaded third season for Jose Mourinho and The Red Devils will struggle to meet any of their objectives.


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