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Man Utd start new season with loss at Old Trafford

11 Aug 2022 | 08:53 | Football

England defender Harry Maguire of Manchester United collides with Belgian midfielder Leandro Trossard of Brighton at Old Trafford on August 7, 2022.

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England defender Harry Maguire of Manchester United collides with Belgian midfielder Leandro Trossard of Brighton at Old Trafford on August 7, 2022.

Erik ten Hag’s reign as Manchester United manager got off to a nightmare start as Brighton scored their first win at Old Trafford with a 2-1 win on the opening weekend of the Premier League season.

Any hopes of a fresh start for United after a miserable 2021/22 season were wiped out within 45 minutes when Pascal Gross scored a brace to put Brighton at the helm.

Alexis Mac Allister’s own goal gave United a strong foothold in the game, but they rarely seem to return to level condition, showing the scale of the task that lies ahead for Ten Hag.

The former Ajax boss left Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench after he only returned to pre-season training last week.

Ronaldo reacts during the match against Brighton. Photo: AFP

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Ronaldo reacts during the match against Brighton. Photo: AFP

Ronaldo is said to be looking to leave Old Trafford to play in the Champions League this season.

But without the five-time Ballon d’Or winner, United have no focus on their attack as Christian Eriksen starts in an unfamiliar role as a false nine.

The result could have been very different if Bruno Fernandes had not taken the glorious opportunity in the sixth minute.

The final phase of a nightmare campaign for United last season when they finished sixth in the Premier League was a 4-0 defeat to Brighton in May, and the Seagulls quickly stabilized their tempo.

Graham Potter’s men lost two of their best players in the transfer window, as Yves Bissouma joined Spurs and Marc Cucurella moved to Chelsea this week for a club record fee of more than £60m. (72 million dollars).

But it didn’t show when Brighton revealed the same flaws in United’s wide open midfield to easily dismiss Ten Hag’s men.

Welbeck haunts the old side

Danny Welbeck, who was dropped by United in 2014, is a constant threat behind the vulnerable defensive duo of Harry Maguire and Lisandro Martinez.

Welbeck created the opening goal when he edged past Maguire and put the ball over goal for Gross to hit the back of the net with no defenders behind.

The German midfielder now has six goals in 12 appearances against United, as he is again in the right place to capitalize as David de Gea can only save Solly March’s shot over goal.

Boos rang out across Old Trafford as the half-time whistle blew, leaving the home fans restless about the state of their team on the pitch.

The club shop was forced to close before it started by a protest against United’s owners, the Glazer family, on the day Avram Glazer made a rare appearance in the directors’ box.

Ronaldo’s introduction at the start of the second half at least increased the noise levels inside Old Trafford, which in turn prompted United’s reaction.

One of the challenges Ten Hag faces is restoring Marcus Rashford’s best form.

Rashford looked reborn in pre-season, but failed to make the mark as Robert Sanchez made a stunning save to thwart the England international’s effort from Ronaldo’s precise cross.

Sanchez has done that fine job of keeping United alive after 22 minutes.

The Spaniard crossed the ball in a corner under pressure from Diogo Dalot and then put the ball into the net of Mac Allister unfortunately.

But a much-anticipated siege on the Brighton goal never came to fruition as the visitors comfortably witnessed the famous winning finishers.

tcecsport