Erik ten Hag’s Premier League debut was a disaster on Sunday, as Manchester United fell 2-1 to Brighton & Hove Albion at Old Trafford.
A brace from Pascal Gross in the first half gave Brighton a comfortable lead until Alexis Mac Allister scored an own goal on 68 minutes. However, United was unable to convert any of their chances, allowing Brighton to earn their first ever victory at Old Trafford.
“We went into the game positive, we had a good preseason and it was the worst possible start to be 2-0 down at half-time at Old Trafford. Not good enough. We got a goal back but we huffed and puffed a bit, and it’s a bad start for us,” Harry Maguire stated.
“We started pretty the game well and on the front foot and as a team we had control of the game. Then we conceded the first goal and that knocked us badly. We stopped playing from then. We need to look at not letting that first goal set us back as much as it did. But we have to be better on the ball, we encouraged them to come forward and attack us. It was a nightmare start to be 2-0 down at half-time,” he said further.
Brighton took 30 minutes to break United during a period in which they applied most of the pressure. Danny Welbeck escaped Maguire and hit the ball into the six-yard box, where Gross tapped it in.
His second came nine minutes later, as part of a well-executed team goal from Brighton. They worked the ball down the field from their corner flag, where Solly March scooped it up on the rim.
He took a shot, which David de Gea palmed away, but only as far as Gross, who slotted the ball into the roof of the net.
Instead, it was a terrible decision by Robert Sanchez, who had previously made several excellent saves, that allowed Mac Allister to guide the ball into his net in a goalmouth scramble.
The goalie had failed to clear the ball from the corner, and as it bobbled back towards his net, he knocked it off Mac Allister and into his net.
VAR investigated whether Diogo Dalot committed a handball in the buildup to the goal, but no violation was identified, and the score was recorded.
“It was a fantastic performance and a well-deserved victory. A fantastic place to begin, “Brighton manager Graham Potter stated.
“I thought we had an idea of how to attack and when we could we tried to press and put them under pressure. We were positive and brave and the boys gave everything. Our performance in the first half was really strong, “Brighton coach further stated.