As the season got underway last week, many United fans did their best to ignore the warning signs of a farcical pre-season and rally round the troops with a renewed sense of optimism. That optimism has now been replaced by anger, despair and bewilderment as United followed up last season’s debacle at the Amex, with another one, going down 3-2 to a Brighton side that were ahead after 25 mins and stayed that way until the final whistle.
Here’s five things we learned from United’s second defeat to Brighton in the space of three months.
1. David De Gea is human. Before we all start foaming at the mouth, I’m not advocating dropping, replacing or in any way altering the fact De Gea is our goalkeeper. Let’s not fall into the trap of seeing everything he does as perfect though, like his teammates it was a day to forget for the Spanish stopper as his distribution led to at least one Brighton goal, while he should have done better with Groß’s penalty.
2. Eric Bailly will never have a worse game of football. It’s simply not possible for the defender to play any more badly than he did against Brighton on Sunday. Whether it was positioning, passing or tackling, Bailly forgot how to do it all. It was a performance that was up there – or should it be down there – with Evra’s debut, or Phil Jones in the FA Cup final as one that’s etched into memory for it’s sheer awfulness.
3. Anthony Martial doesn’t want to be here and he shouldn’t be. It’s no secret that the Frenchman wants to leave, in fact it’s arguably the one thing United fans can all agree on. Watching him sleepwalk his way through the first hour against Brighton was another reminder of why no matter how much some of us may love the Frenchman, he simply cannot continue at the club with his current mindset.
4. Paul Pogba isn’t the skipper we want him to be. I’ve led the calls for Pogba to be captain but at the moment he simply isn’t living up to the role, after a decent if somewhat overrated performance against Leicester City, his showing against Brighton was arguably his worst ever. Don’t let a last minute penalty confuse you, Pogba was dreadful and if he is to become the leader this team needs then his post-match comments about his attitude being wrong, need to be addressed by the man himself rather than just the manager.
5. Jose Mourinho’s position is weaker than ever. While the majority of United fans still seem to back the manager – just, tales of Ed Woodward appearing in the away dressing room after the game, not to mention the fact the board refused to sanction the signing of a defender makes Sunday’s result one we may look back on as the beginning of the end.
Have I missed anything out? Am I being too kind or harsh? Feel free to comment, suggest and abuse below.
*Odds are subject to change.