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Erik ten Hag plays down Marko Arnautovic links and states Manchester United project is "one hell of a job" after Brighton loss

Cain Smith

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Erik ten Hag plays down Marko Arnautovic links and states Manchester United project is "one hell of a job" after Brighton loss

Erik ten Hag labelled his task to return Manchester United to the top as "one hell of a job" following a dismal display and a 2-1 defeat against Brighton.

The opening game of the Premier League campaign had much excitement behind it, but that was soon diminished after 39 minutes when United found themselves 2-0 down.

A quick brace from Pascal Gross left Ten Hag's men stunned, and they failed to start playing any brand similar to his football until after their scrappy goal midway through the second half.

Scott McTominay and Adam Lallana (Man Utd)
Scott McTominay and Adam Lallana (Man Utd)

It was too late to salvage, however, and the Dutchman lost his first competitive game in charge. It was the first time in almost 40 years that the Reds lost the last game of one season and the first game of the next.

“I am not satisfied, totally not. We lost and it was not necessary. We should do better," Ten Hag

“Of course, definitely a setback and real disappointment. I knew from the start it would not be easy. We gave two easy balls away and it was not good in the organisation.

“It is clear to see the second half we were better in midfield with Eriksen down and Ronaldo up. We created and Rashford had two good chances, it is a shame we did not score.

“We made mistakes on the ball and organisation mistakes in defending. We have to take the lessons and learn quickly from it.

“Brighton are a decent team, all the compliments, but I look to my team and we should not give two easy goals away.

“It is a hell of a job. We have to work really hard, analyse then move forward.”

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Following his tough assessment, Ten Hag gave clarity on Anthony Martial, who was set to start the game before a slight hamstring problem left him out of selection.

“(It's) difficult to say with his injury and we have to wait. We have a week (until the next game)," he said.

Meanwhile, with the performance lacking, there were inevitably going to be questions about any transfer window activity.

United are in dire need of midfield enforcements, the performances of Scott McTominay and Fred made that clear.

However, they are also in need of a forward addition. Cristiano Ronaldo started the game on the bench, as he was not deemed fit to start.

Christian Eriksen had to start as a false-nine due to United's lack of depth at no.9, which could be even worse if Ronaldo does leave the club.

Marko Arnautovic has been one name that's cropped up in reports, but Ten Hag played down the links when asked about the former West Ham striker.

“I don’t go into names. In this pre-season, 250 players are linked with Man United. We considered Rashford had a striker but he had a really good pre-season on the left side," he told reporters.

Featured Image Credit: Manchester United

Topics: Manchester United, Brighton And Hove Albion, Erik Ten Hag, Premier League, Football, Manchester United Transfer News & Rumours, Transfers

Cain Smith
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