Manager Jose Mourinho’s summer of discontent reached a new low on Sunday when Brighton & Hove Albion inflicted a deserved 3-2 defeat on sorry Manchester United.
Glenn Murray’s artful flick and Shane Duffy’s scrambled effort made it 2-0 to the hosts by 27 minutes.
Romelu Lukaku headed in for the visitors, but Pascal Gross’ penalty-kick before the break was crucial. Paul Pogba then struck his own spot-kick far too deep into second-half injury time.
Goals – 1
Shots – 9
Possession – 67%
Tackles – 13
Dribbles completed – 10
Mourinho was forced into a change to his usual starting side, Anthony Martial replacing the injured Alexis Sanchez on the left flank of a 4-3-3 formation.
A lack of hunger, cohesion and quality was then on show as Brighton roared into a 3-1 lead.
Rash defending was at the heart of the matter. But Mourinho bought both Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof, making any excuses ring hollow.
TACTICAL TALKING POINT
Floundering in the dark
We have now entered the third season of Mourinho’s United reign.
However, there is still no collective identity to his side.
United’s starting midfield in the wretched Pogba plus Brazil call-ups Fred and Andreas Pereira rarely came within 10 metres of each other. This meant no intricate solution could be found to combat Brighton’s excellent press.
All too often, the ball would go long to an isolated Lukaku. The cycle would then repeat of United going nowhere with 67-per-cent possession – as shown by only three shots on target from a paltry nine attempts.
These are old issues being given fresh airing.
10 - This is only the tenth time in Premier League history that Manchester United have conceded three first half goals in a game, and the first time since October 2015 v Arsenal. Porous.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) August 19, 2018
There is something wrong at the core of United.
A pre-season full of moans from the manager and a lack of activity in the transfer department became real at Amex Stadium. Mourinho bemoaned “big mistakes” in his post-match interviews, yet these were made largely by his signings.
Another question for the boss is why was Pogba the best player for France in the World Cup final, but on Sunday his pass accuracy was just 81.8 per cent and he lost the ball a game-high five times?
Much better is required. You wouldn’t back Mourinho to deliver it at present.
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