This might be called a shock, but to be honest it really isn’t, because in the Premier League anyone can beat anyone on their day. United were second best all day against Brighton, and the Seagulls were worthy winners.
United just didn’t seem to be at the races. In the first half they looked lethargic and didn’t seem to want to play, which is worrying. In particular, defensively, Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof looked very unsure of themselves, and there is a very good reason for this. Jose Mourinho has continually made a point this summer of saying he needs to strengthen the defence this summer, which might be right, but what does that do to the confidence of those defenders he already has? No wonder they were making basic mistakes and making really poor decisions.
On the flip side, Brighton were exceptional. With United’s defensive players not playing with any confidence, Brighton really got on their backs, pressing high and forcing them to make those mistakes. Midfielders Davy Propper and Dale Stephens were fantastic at this, winning the ball, getting it wide to Anthony Knockaert and Solly March, and then they fed it into the central defensive where Bailly and Lindelof were looking uncertain, and Glenn Murray was there to get on the end of them. It was a simple game plan that showed one team really piling on the pressure of the other when the other didn’t need it. That is why Brighton were able to beat United.
In the second half, United did start to play a little better, but the damage was ultimately done in the first half, and United as a club need to look at themselves and work out how to right these wrongs.