There were huge expectations before the game, as not only United are heading to a new era under the Dutch gaffer, but they are also coming off a great pre-season.
However, United failed to live up to expectations. From a horrible defence and ever-present midfield issues to the attackers showing complacency, it looked as if United were stuck in the 2021/22 season.
Another glaring issue found during the game was David de Gea’s lacklustre display, which adds to Ten Hag’s long list of problems.
Despite being one of the best players for United last season, plenty of doubts emerged on De Gea’s future upon the appointment of Ten Hag, whose playing style is deemed unsuitable for the Spaniard.
It was for the same reason Luis Enrique continuously snubbed De Gea from the Spanish national team, with a ball-playing shot-stopper like Unai Simons given more preference.
Nonetheless, De Gea looked determined to build on his impressive 2021/22 season and improve his sweeping and distribution abilities under Ten Hag.
But the former Atletico Madrid man still stands in the same old ground where he has been all these years – a talented keeper whose errors get the better of him.
For Brighton’s first goal, the 31-year-old should have stopped Danny Welbeck from crossing the ball to Pascal Gross, who eventually fired home.
For the second, De Gea was expected to do better as his poor right-handed stop to Solly March’s strike allowed Gross to pounce on the rebound.
In addition, the Spanish keeper struggled to distribute the ball and build from the back.
Ironically at the other end, Robert Sanchez – De Gea’s compatriot and disciple – put on a solid display as he has been doing over the last few seasons.
Ten Hag is reportedly on the lookout for a strong back-up goalkeeper, but if De Gea’s struggles persist, the former Ajax gaffer may soon have to find a top first-choice keeper.
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