Manager Erik ten Hag had hard questions to address after Man United’s performance against Brighton.
Erik ten Hag had a good first season at Manchester United, especially after taking over a team with such a dysfunctional culture and dressing room. He won a trophy, played in the Champions League, and helped the relationship between the players and the fans return.
He became the club’s most well-liked manager since Sir Alex Ferguson, and despite a few humiliating losses along the way, the team recovered from each one to start playing well once more.
After Saturday’s loss to Brighton, in which he was completely outclassed tactically by Roberto De Zerbi on the touchline, Ten Hag has earned the trust of the supporters, which has been crucial in the wake of the setback
Although Brighton’s starting lineup at Old Trafford cost less than £20 million and lacked United’s talent in man-for-man comparison, they are one of the best-coached teams in the entire world, not just the Premier League.
In the first 15 minutes, United was the superior team, but they were unable to score to demonstrate their superiority. That will inevitably result in punishment against strong opponents, and Danny Welbeck’s goal completely demoralized the players wearing red shirts.
Ten Hag frequently uses the phrase “no longer on the front foot” to describe how he wants his team to play, and Brighton proved why Pep Guardiola declared in the build-up that “they are the best team in the world.”
The good Brighton team easily controlled the ball for significant stretches of the game after learning how to counter Ten Hag’s diamond-shaped midfield formation.
Ten Hag said that the new system had been successful early in the game and that was accurate after the 3-1 loss, but he remained with the formation when Brighton reacted to it either obstinately or naively.
It was obvious after 30 minutes that something needed to happen, but Rasmus Hojlund persisted and suffered the repercussions even if his goal, on his complete debut, was disallowed by VAR just before halftime.
Soon after the second half started, De Zerbi’s team made it 2-0. That goal was the most concerning to concede because the players were extremely docile, almost giving the impression that Brighton was taking part in a charity match.
Apparently since it was Scott McTominay’s responsibility to pick Kaoru Mitoma up, Diogo Dalot didn’t cling to him, but Brighton had already pushed attackers forward by the time the latter arrived, and they easily entered the box.
The second goal perfectly encapsulated the afternoon’s issues: the system was broken. When a manager tries a new formation, there shouldn’t be any objections, but the players need to understand their jobs and there needs to be a backup plan.
Due to how it was lost, the game has generated significant controversy. Few would dispute that Ten Hag was outclassed tactically and that United might have triumphed if the managers of the two sides had been switched.
There are now some questions about Ten Hag that have surfaced for the first time since he was hired from Ajax, and Old Trafford expressed their displeasure when he substituted Hojlund with 20 minutes remaining.
Hojlund was replaced by Anthony Martial, and that choice was welcomed with vociferous jeers. “I believe it was successful. Ten Hag remarked of the response, “You witness the crowd at the first minute at Old Trafford, the reception for him was fantastic.
“I think he did a great job, and it’s fantastic that they send Rasmus this message and signal because it will give him faith. Everyone is aware that he entered with a minor problem and that we gradually improved him over the previous three to four weeks. He isn’t prepared for a whole game.
The unfavorable reception to substitution shouldn’t come as a surprise. Hojlund was one of the few players on the field who was capable of scoring when the game was being chased and a comeback was still conceivable.
With only a few minutes remaining, the manager made two questionable substitutions: Alejandro Garnacho and Facundo Pellistri. Their introductions looked to come too late, and the technique the manager used was incorrect.
In five league games, United has six points, which is a poor start. The club appears to have regressed rather than progressed, and the next Champions League match is a road game against Bayern Munich.
In order to avoid the inevitable pressure that always comes with being the manager of the largest club in England, Ten Hag must accept responsibility for the weekend’s loss and make amends in the coming months.
There are currently off-field distractions going on, but Brighton outperforming us tactically is unacceptable. Ten Hag’s success is incredibly important to United supporters, and difficulties need to be resolved right away.