Brighton score three first-half goals to stun lacklustre Man Utd
Manchester United did not show the right attitude in their surprise Premier League defeat at Brighton, says captain Paul Pogba.
The Seagulls, who beat Jose Mourinho’s side at the Amex Stadium in May to retain their top-flight status, stunned their visitors by scoring three goals in the first half.
Glenn Murray flicked in the opener before Shane Duffy stroked home two minutes later.
Romelu Lukaku halved the deficit 11 minutes before the break, rising unmarked to nod in Luke Shaw’s ball, but Pascal Gross converted a penalty after a foul by Eric Bailly.
Pogba also scored from the spot – deep in second-half stoppage time – but it was not enough to deny Brighton a famous win.
“The attitude that we had was not like we wanted to beat them. They had more anger than us and that showed on the pitch,” Pogba told Sky Sports.
“I put myself first. My attitude wasn’t right enough. We’ll keep trying and keep pushing and obviously it’s a lesson for us.”
Mourinho said he would not blame individuals, despite admitting his side made “incredible mistakes”.
The Portuguese has previously singled out players for criticism if he felt they performed below expectations but said his side were not good enough as a collective against Brighton.
“We were punished by the mistakes we made,” he said. “For me that’s the story of the game.
“We made incredible mistakes in some crucial moments. Mistakes that killed us.”
Mourinho’s fears come to fruition
Mourinho warned in the summer that his side faced “a difficult season” if they did not strengthen before the transfer window closed.
He had highlighted his side’s defence as an area that needed bolstering, but deadline day passed without any new arrivals.
Mourinho’s concerns were laid bare here, with his defence caught out on a number of occasions by Brighton’s quick movement.
Bailly, in particular, struggled. Aside from giving away the penalty he also miscontrolled a pass in the second half that momentarily put March through before the Ivorian was able to recover.
Bailly and centre-back partner Victor Lindelof – both Mourinho signings – have now been a part of a defence that has conceded four goals in the first two games of the season. It took United nine to let in that many last season.
Fortress Amex as intimidating as ever
Brighton’s home form played a huge part in their survival last season, with 29 of their 40 points secured at the Amex Stadium.
Once again, it looks like a trip to south coast will be a difficult one for their Premier League rivals.
United may have been well below par but that should not take away what was a controlled and confident display by the Seagulls against a side that finished second last season.
They took the game to their opponents from the outset, March working the defence with an early cross, and even the loss of influential defender Lewis Dunk did not disrupt them as Anthony Knockaert got in behind before putting his shot just wide.
Brighton did not have a shot after the break, but they did not need to as they changed tack from attack to containment. In the end it was a comfortable afternoon for Chris Hughton’s side.
“I thought we were very good. It was a victory we deserved,” said Hughton.
“There’s not a player that didn’t play well. To get that result with the quality they have you have to put in a good performance.”
Martial fails to take his chance
Alexis Sanchez was a surprise absentee from United’s starting XI, with Mourinho confirming before kick-off that the forward was injured.
That meant Anthony Martial, who has been linked with a move, was handed the chance to impress.
Mourinho was critical of Martial for his performance here in May, and another ineffective display will surely not have impressed his manager.
Martial lasted until the hour mark before he was substituted with neither he nor Mourinho appearing to acknowledge each other as he went down the tunnel.
Man of the match – Solly March
A first for Paul Pogba – the stats
- Since taking charge of United at the start of the 2016-17 season, the only opponent Mourinho has lost against more often than Brighton (two) is his former club Chelsea (four).
- Brighton have lost just one of their past eight home games in the Premier League (W5 D2 L1), with the two most recent both being wins against United (1-0 in 2017-18 and 3-1 in 2018-19).
- United lost their first away game of a Premier League campaign for the first time since 2012-13, when they were beaten 1-0 by Everton.
- Twenty three of Murray’s 24 goals in the Premier League have been scored from inside the box, including 100% of those scored for Brighton in the competition (13/13).
- Gross has scored eight goals in the Premier League, with all eight at home. Only two players have netted more goals exclusively at home in the competition’s history – Georginio Wijnaldum (18) and Clive Wilson (nine).
- In competitive games since the start of the 2018 World Cup, David de Gea has conceded 10 goals from the past 14 shots on target he has faced.
- Lukaku has scored against 18 of the current 20 Premier League teams, with Cardiff and Wolves the only teams he is yet to find the net against.
- Pogba ended on the losing side in a Premier League game he scored in for the first time – prior to today, United had won each of the previous 11 games he had netted in, which was a joint-record in the competition (with Ryan Babel for Liverpool).
- This was only the 10th time in Premier League history that United conceded three first-half goals in a game, and the first time since October 2015 against Arsenal.
Brighton travel to Liverpool on Saturday, 25 August (17:30 BST) while United host Tottenham on Monday, 27 August (20:00 BST)