Manchester United lost 2-1 to Brighton in their opening Premier League fixture on Sunday afternoon. Pascal Gross was at the double for Graham Potter’s side, notching twice in the first half to give the visitors all three points – despite Diogo Dalot netting a consolation. Express Sport will now analyse the contest and list five things we learned from the proceedings at Old Trafford.
At the tail end of last season, Ralf Rangnick claimed United needed as many as eight new signings to turn their fortunes around.
Just months on, and only Tyrell Malacia, Lisandro Martinez and Christian Eriksen have arrived.
United need two world-class midfielders, something that’s evident. A controller, like Frenkie de Jong, as well a defensive midfielder capable of doing the dirty work.
A new right-back wouldn’t go amiss, while they also need a forward to provide energy up top.
Whether United do take the necessary action, however, is something only time will tell.
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United have spent millions on defenders in recent years.
But they’ve not gone bang for their buck and, against Brighton, the usual shortcomings were there for all to see.
Luke Shaw cut a frustrated figure throughout the showdown, with the England international failing to make an impact at either end of the pitch.
Diogo Dalot was similarly poor, while Harry Maguire and Lisandro Martinez were hardly calming presences at the back.
United are worryingly lacklustre when it comes to defending and all signs point to the club shipping goals aplenty over the course of the current campaign.
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With Anthony Martial out injured, United had a selection dilemma before the game.
And they decided to go with a false nine in Bruno Fernandes, despite the Portugal international being a midfielder by trade.
That decision backfired, however.
United lacked an outlet in attack prior to the introduction of Cristiano Ronaldo, with the Red Devils having nobody to aim for.
Fernandes isn’t neat or technically good enough to play in the No 9 role, meaning Ten Hag can’t make this same mistake again in future matches.
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There’s no denying Rangnick wasn’t good enough during his spell in the United dugout.
But he may have been proven right on many issues against Brighton.
He felt the club needed eight fresh faces and yet, despite that, only three have arrived.
Rangnick didn’t entirely trust Harry Maguire or Ronaldo, too, with both players cutting anonymous figures throughout the showdown.
And though the German is now a thing of the past, the club’s failure to act on his comments could hinder their future.
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Since Brighton returned to the Premier League, they’ve gone from strength to strength.
And it seems as though they’re set for another good year under Potter.
Brighton were superb against United, particularly in the first half, playing some dazzling football and dictating the proceedings.
On this evidence, despite losing Yves Bissouma and Marc Cucurella, they look like they’re about to provide another year to remember.
Certainly, they looked far better-coached and managed than United today.
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