The Erik ten Hag era got off to an inauspicious start as Manchester United suffered a 1-2 defeat at the hands of Brighton & Hove Albion at Old Trafford.
Based on the first-half display, not much changed from Ralf Rangnick’s disastrous interim regime. Players seemed off the pace, not aggressive enough while vying for second balls and generally sloppy with their passing.
Ten Hag had enjoyed a smooth pre-season and fans were excited to see United players pressing and running from the start. But none of it was visible in the opening 45 minutes as Brighton ran riot and took a deserved two goal lead.
It could have been more and one of the players guilty of making too mistakes was Diogo Dalot. While speaking to MUTV post the game, the Portuguese admitted that the team was just not in the races in the first half.
— UtdPlug (@UtdPlug) August 7, 2022
“I think everyone felt that this is a disappointing result,” the full-back explained. I think we started really badly in the first 45 minutes, in the second half we got better but it is still not enough to win a game like this.”
“I think we could (have) stopped a little bit more the counter attacks. We let them play freely a couple of times and they played in behind and we could stop them with a little bit more aggression.”
‘Not time for panic’
Dalot was one of the standout performers in pre-season, impressing the manager to such an extent that he has become the undisputed first-choice right back with Aaron Wan-Bissaka seemingly on his way out.
Dalot committed the game’s first error within 10 seconds of the match starting and lost possession 10 times in the first-half, the most among United players.
But the full-back improved, just like his teammates, after the breather and contributed heavily for United’s only goal of the game.
When asked about what sort of improvements are needed before the game against Brentford, the 23-year-old explained, “We need to analyse what we didn’t do right and what we need to improve for the next game. We need to look at the positives because we still had a few in the second half, especially with some good plays, but we need to do this for the 90 minutes – not just for 45.”
Despite the defeat and the social media outrage, the former Porto defender has asked for patience and the need to stay calm and not panic.
“It’s the first game, we still have a long season to play. It’s a setback, but we need to keep together. I think that will not be an issue for us for the next games, but we for sure need to analyse what we did and what we did not do well and try to improve in the next game.”