Jose Mourinho would be a furious man in the dressing room as Manchester United succumbed to a woeful 3-2 loss at the hands of Brighton & Hove Albion.
Things looked bright for Manchester United going into the match against Brighton. Jose Mourinho was hoping to avoid a repeat of their result against them from last season. The Portuguese changed just two players in the starting eleven, with Alexis Sanchez’s absence forcing him to start Anthony Martial.
Romelu Lukaku fired close from inside the box early on. The optimism turned sour soon though, as Glenn Murray capitalised on a sleeping defence inside the box to finish with a cheeky touch on Solly March’s cross. The score was doubled with another incidence of atrocious defending, this time from a set-piece.
Lukaku got one back but United headed into the break 3-1 down after Eric Bailly conceded a penalty, which was swiftly dispatched, despite David De Gea getting a leg on it. The second half saw Manchester United try in vain to reduce the difference. A lifeline was provided late into extra time, with Marouane Fellaini being brought down inside the box.
Paul Pogba dispatched with aplomb but it was to be merely a consolation. Let us take a look at how the individuals fared.
David De Gea: 5.5
Did David De Gea concede three goals on the day? Yes. Could he have done a bit better to save Brighton’s opener? Perhaps. Was he found out in his distribution? Yes, but mainly due to Brighton’s pressing.
The Spaniard got a foot to the penalty but was unable to save it. All in all, David De Gea did not look in command of the defence. Granted, he did not make any glaring errors. But, he should have done a better job of getting his defence in line once he saw that the defenders had little clue or leadership among them.
If Mourinho is to persist with the youthful centre-back pairing, David De Gea will have to step up and be a leader at the back, something he has never showed in his game.
Ashley Young: 5
A change that many had anticipated; the affect though, no one did. Ashley Young was continuously found out by Solly March, who continued to threaten the right side of United’s defence. His inability to track March’s movement resulted in the first goal. Young was never a threat going forward and offered little resistance in defence as well. A forgetful performance.
Eric Bailly: 3
Possibly the worst central defensive performance by a Manchester United player in the last decade or so. Many have made mistakes, but no one has committed so many errors in a single game. Eric Bailly could not find his balance in the game and was almost always found out. Conceded the penalty and looked out of sorts the entire game.
There were a few times in the second half when he lost the ball at precarious positions, only to be bailed out by teammates. Could easily have been responsible for more goals.
Victor Lindelof: 4.5
If not for Lindelof, there could have been more goals. But, his passing was susceptible at times, something that is not expected of him. Also, while Bailly conceded the penalty, Lindelof was the one who was responsible for the chance, with the central defender never getting back into position after moving out wide towards the left to get the ball.
All in all, a performance that could have easily gotten a higher score, if not for the atrocious performance from his partner.
Luke Shaw: 7
Honestly, and this is a bit surprising, Luke Shaw looked like the best defender in the back four. The player got in the most number of tackles (4), completed the joint-most number of dribbles (2) and even had attempts at goal as Manchester United continued their search for a way back into the game. It was his attempt from outside the box that Lukaku converted with his head.
A solid display with an unfortunate overall result.
Could not do much to influence on either thirds of the pitch. A poor display.
Andreas Pereira: 4.5
It’s in matches like these that you get to know the importance of a player like Nemanja Matic. The protection he provides to the back four would have been immense and could have easily foiled the third goal, if not the first two.
Pereira is an adventurous soul and while he is starting to mould himself into the holding midfield role, the Brighton match showed he still has a fair distance to go before commanding a starting role on a more permanent basis.
Paul Pogba: 5
I cannot get an inkling as to how whoscored has given Paul Pogba a 7.5 rating. Granted, he dispatched the penalty well. But, apart from that, Pogba fed an early ball to Lukaku early one and forced Mathew Ryan into a save from long range in the second. That was about it as far as contribution is concerned.
Wayward passing was one of the highlights of his game against Brighton, regular being dispossessed being the other. Pogba’s inconsistency continues to hurt Manchester United.
Juan Mata: 5
Invisible till the second half, Mata was a lonesome figure on the right. He did nothing of significance and was rightly substituted at half-time.
Romelu Lukaku: 6
Nothing special from the Belgian. A regular performance, although, there were a couple of moments that could have made a difference had he been more clinical. Cannot blame the result on him though.
Anthony Martial: 4
Was given a chance to redeem himself while also stamping his authority for a chance to start regularly on the left, with Alexis Sanchez not travelling with the squad. But, the Frenchman never looked in the game and was fortunate to have stayed longer on the pitch than Juan Mata.
Cannot see Martial being afforded another start anytime soon.
Jesse Lingard: 5
Usually the go-to man if you want a miracle at Manchester United nowadays, Jesse Lingard looked out of pace and never really got into the game after coming on at half-time. Made his usual darting runs but either came up short or overdid it. Disappointing performance.
Marcus Rashford: 5.5
Looked lively and was a threat going forward. But, Rashford could not provide anything material to aid United’s comeback.
Marouane Fellaini: 6.5
Surprisingly, or rather not so much, United started the long ball tactic as Fellaini came on. The Belgian’s arrival saw United being more of a threat from the get-go and it was Fellaini who got the penalty in injury time. Could have been better had he been brought on earlier for Martial, who offered nothing during his time on the pitch.