Man Utd boos speak volumes in Brighton loss as Erik ten Hag faces alarming issue

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Manchester United were handed their third defeat of the season on Saturday, being beaten by Brighton at Old Trafford. The Seagulls cruised to a 3-1 victory in a display that Erik ten Hag will feel highlighted plenty of weaknesses in his squad.

Roberto De Zerbi’s side opened the scoring against the run of play through Danny Welbeck in the 20th minute when he tapped close-range following a swift counter-attack down the right that saw Simon Adingra afforded plenty of time to deliver his cross. United thought that they had equalised before half-time through Rasmus Hojlund but the goal was eventually chalked out after VAR ruled that the ball trickled out of play before the cross was deliver to the striker.

Brighton then doubled their lead in the 53rd minute through Pascal Gross before Joao Pedro came off of the bench to put the game to bed in the 71st minute with a cute finish from the edge of the box. United were given a glimmer of hope late on through Hannibal Mejbri but their efforts soon fizzled out. Express Sport takes a look at five key talking points from the match…

Erik ten Hag second-best manager on the sideline

The Red Devils were the better side up until they went behind but Welbeck’s goal appeared to kill Ten Hag’s game plan. The Dutchman had instructed his side to force Brighton out wide when they were in possession, perhaps underestimating that the likes of Kauro Mitoma and Simon Adingra would thrive when given more time on the ball. Lamptey was also given more of a licence to roam forward from left-back due to the tactics, and that ultimately led to the Seagulls scoring their second.

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Boos echo around Old Trafford

Although his tactics will be questioned by pundits, supporters also made their feelings clear about a tactical switch in the second half. Hojlund was replaced by Anthony Martial in the 54th minute, prompting the United faithful to make their feelings clear with boos and jeers directed at Ten Hag for making the switch.

Rashford given key teammate

England international Marcus Rashford looked to be thoroughly enjoying working with Hojlund and the pair have already formed a partnership that could cause teams serious problems. The winger found plenty of joy down the left and was willing to race down to the by-line in hope of delivering a cross to his new teammate. Hojlund was also willing to do the hard yards to benefit Rashford, pushing out to the right in hope of leaving Jan Paul van Hecke isolated.

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De Zerbi’s side aren’t to be misjudged

Brighton’s victory certainly consolidates them as Champions League contenders this season, rather than a team that could simply push for European football. The Amex Stadium outfit rotated their ranks to face United and are still working towards introducing summer signings Ansu Fati, Joao Pedro and Carlos Baleba into their ranks. Questions were raised about Brighton have the depth to be able to rotate now that they have European football to contend with, and their display on Saturday would suggest that they do.

Worrying defensive stat

Ten Hag will not be pleased with seeing his side concede three goals, especially as that now means that the club have conceded multiple goals in four successive league matches for the first time since 1979. Despite Raphael Varane being ruled out with injury, the France international’s absence cannot be the excuse for such a torrid defensive run.

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