Manchester United lost 1-2 to Brighton and Hove Albion at Old Trafford in Erik ten Hag’s first game in the Premier League.
A brace from Pascal Gross handed Graham Potter’s side a 2-0 advantage, stunning Old Trafford to silence.
United pulled one goal back following Alex Mac Allister’s own goal but a comeback was far from possible due to basic systematic adjustments the Red Devils are yet to understand.
Here are five things UtdDistrict learned from Manchester United vs Brighton:
#1 Desperate changes needed in midfield
Erik ten Hag went for the usual McFred combination in midfield, a sight which many United fans may never want to see again after this game.
Ten Hag’s system is nothing without a ball-playing midfielder, and that is what was proved from the result and our performance overall in this game.
As much as Ten Hag’s system revolves around full-backs, it also needs a defensive midfielder capable of dealing with counters, which McTominay and Fred are incapable of handling.
It won’t be a surprise if United will dive into the market soon for a deep lying midfielder who can dictate play. If not, the club could be in for a long, tough season.
#2 Tough outing for new signings
Lisandro Martinez, Christian Eriksen and Tyrel Malacia all endured a tough debut for United in the Premier League.
Eriksen adjusted well as the game went on despite starting as a false 9, but Martinez and Malacia will have learnt a lot from this game, especially with regards to their positioning and presence of mind.
It won’t come as a surprise if Ten Hag drops McTominay from the next game and tries Martinez in a defensive midfield role.
Martinez suffered against Danny Welbeck, but with experience and more matches, there is little doubt he will adjust well.
Malacia typically showed inexperience in multiple situations, fouling Brighton players in tricky areas, thus handing the advantage to the Seagulls to waste time.
#3 Marcus Rashford may need to be dropped
This is supposed to be a do-or-die season for Marcus Rashford.
His contract at Manchester United expires next year, and with the way he’s been performing over the last year, there is no guarantee he will be a United player from next season.
Typically wasteful on the ball and the decision making of an amateur, Rashford needs to be given a reality check.
Cristiano Ronaldo was left on the bench so that Rashford could start, and he missed two sitters in the game which proved to be vital in the overall scheme of the result.
It won’t be a surprise if Rashford doesn’t start the next few games, with Ten Hag opting for youngsters to be given a chance they deserve in this team.
#4 Cristiano Ronaldo should probably leave the club
If there was any chance of Ronaldo feeling he needs to stay and help Manchester United, that chance is surely gone.
Ronaldo was left on the bench at the start of the game and was brought on in the second half when United desperately needed a leader on the pitch.
His body language on the pitch wasn’t that great and United’s mishaps in midfield only added to his frustration as the game went on.
#5 Erik ten Hag needs more transfers
It’s not just the defensive midfield that needs to be sorted out - United and Ten Hag need strong options to change the course of the game when they are struggling.
Today’s defeat was a clear indication that the Red Devils don’t have enough credentials to match the teams fighting for a top six spot.
Unless more players are brought in, do not expect Erik ten Hag to deliver a miracle.
Featured Image Credit: Manchester United
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