BRIGHTON: Manchester United captain Paul Pogba admitted his side didn’t have the right attitude in losing 3-2 to Brighton & Hove Albion on Sunday due to a shambolic defensive display.
For the first time in nearly two years, Jose Mourinho’s men conceded more than twice with all three Brighton goals arriving in a 20-minute span before half-time through Glenn Murray, Shane Duffy and a Pascal Gross penalty.
“They had more hunger than us. I put myself first, that my attitude wasn’t right enough. We made mistakes we shouldn’t make,” said Pogba, whose penalty deep into stoppage time proved too little, too late.
United manager Mourinho warned of a “difficult” season when he wasn’t backed in the transfer market before the deadline for Premier League clubs closed before the opening weekend of the season.
Strengthening the heart of his defence was Mourinho’s priority and it showed as Victor Lindelof and Eric Bailly endured a torrid afternoon on England’s south coast.
Bailly was particularly exposed and, having conceded a needless corner that led to Duffy’s first Premier League goal, he blundered in to foul Gross, who put away the penalty via David de Gea’s leg on the stroke of halftime.
Although Romelu Lukaku had earlier reduced the deficit with a trademark header, United looked ill-equipped to mount a comeback and were often second best to the ball as they fell three points behind defending champions Manchester City, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur just two games into the new campaign.
Mourinho will now demand an instant reaction when United host Tottenham in their next game.
“We were punished by the mistakes we made. For me that’s the story of the game,” said Mourinho. “We made incredible mistakes in some crucial moments. Mistakes that killed us.”
Brighton’s Murray said their 3-1 home win over United last season gave them confidence that could spring another surprise.
“It was all about the balls being played in to me, I got quality support,” said the striker.
Published in Dawn, August 21st, 2018