Erik ten Hag, the manager of Manchester United, has acknowledged that he knew his team could lose to Brighton on the first day of the Premier League season because he knows improvement “will not come overnight.” Last season, toward the end of Ralf’s tenure, the Red were destroyed 4-0 by the Seagulls in their second-to-last game. However, following a reasonably successful preseason, United entered the new campaign with great optimism.
That feeling of optimism was short-lived, though, as Pascal Gross scored twice in the first half to put Albion ahead 2-0 at the break thanks to some shoddy United defending. Alexis Mac Allister’s clearance was intercepted by Brighton goalkeeper Robert Sanchez, allowing the hosts to score, but the visitors held on to win 2-1.
On Sunday, United struggled for long stretches, and captain Harry Maguire acknowledged that after giving up the first goal, their heads “fell too easily.” After his first Premier League game, Ten Hag admitted that he wasn’t entirely taken aback by the shift in mentality.
“We have a very difficult task ahead of us. We must put in a lot of effort, analyze, and then proceed. Today got off to a good start, but we soon lost confidence and started making errors that the opposition took advantage of. We [tried] to work well together but it was a good opponent, and when you make mistakes, you pay for it “said he.
“I knew it [the drop in confidence] could happen but I think we should have done better – that is clear.
“But I also realize that improvement won’t happen overnight. We occasionally performed better in preseason. We must draw lessons from the first half of today’s game, which was really bad.
Ten Hag responded, “I believe so,” when asked if he could sense the team’s flimsy confidence. That is typical as well. I wasn’t prepared for the fact that we have a lot of experience working as a team.
“And I believe that was where we differed from our opponent: they had a predetermined plan and coach and we did not. Still, losing this game was unnecessary.