Manchester United were outdone by Brighton & Hove Albion for the second straight season on Sunday afternoon, falling to a demoralising 3-2 defeat at the AMEX Stadium.
Romelu Lukaku’s header in his first start of the 2018-19 campaign and Paul Pogba’s second penalty in as many games were only consolations, with the three sloppy goals conceded in the first half enough to earn victory for Brighton.
Comical defending led to Glenn Murray and Shane Duffy scoring with two minutes of each other before Pascal Gross profited from a careless Eric Bailly lunge to net a penalty right on the brink of half-time.
An evidently fuming Jose Mourinho only had one explanation for the surprise defeat, and that was the number of mistakes his young defence made in the first period.
In his post-match interview, he said: “No, I wasn’t expecting big mistakes in the first 45 minutes. [I’m] not talking about small mistakes, but big mistakes. We were punished by it.”
With 33-year-old Ashley Young the exception; Eric Bailly, Victor Lindelof and Luke Shaw made up the inexperienced back four and many supporters have brought up the issue of a lack of leadership in front of David de Gea.
Man United failed in their pursuit of a new central defender over the summer, and this performance may have made it a whole lot more painful.