Manchester United’s 3-1 defeat to Brighton was a shock to fans and pundits alike.
Under the leadership of manager Erik ten Hag, United were expected to continue their strong start to the season.
However, a series of tactical errors by Ten Hag played a significant role in their downfall. In this article, we will dissect three key mistakes the Dutch manager made during this disappointing performance.
One of the most glaring mistakes Ten Hag made was his approach to the defensive side of the game. Manchester United’s backline looked shaky and disorganized throughout the match.
Ten Hag’s decision to deploy a high defensive line without sufficient pressure on Brighton’s attackers left the defense exposed to quick counter-attacks.
This played into Brighton’s hands, as they exploited the space behind United’s defenders time and time again. Ten Hag’s failure to adapt to this threat by dropping the defensive line or having better cover for his center-backs was a costly error.
Another critical issue was the lack of balance in Manchester United’s midfield. Ten Hag opted for an overly offensive midfield setup, with Bruno Fernandes, Paul Pogba, and Donny van de Beek all starting.
While these are talented players individually, their collective presence left United vulnerable in transition.
Brighton capitalized on this by winning the midfield battle and exploiting the gaps left behind by the attacking trio. Ten Hag’s failure to include a more defensively-minded midfielder or adjust the team’s shape during the match was a significant tactical oversight.
Ten Hag’s timing and choice of substitutions also raised eyebrows during the game. As Manchester United fell behind, many expected him to make timely changes to shift the momentum.
However, Ten Hag’s substitutions came too late, and they did not have the desired impact. Waiting until the 80th minute to make changes when United was already 2-1 down seemed like a reactive approach rather than a proactive one. Ten Hag’s reluctance to alter the course of the game through substitutions cost his team dearly.
While it’s essential not to pin the entire blame on Erik ten Hag for Manchester United’s 3-1 defeat to Brighton, it’s evident that his tactical errors played a significant role in the disappointing result.
Defensive vulnerabilities, a lack of midfield balance, and poor substitution management were three key mistakes that contributed to United’s downfall. Ten Hag will need to learn from these errors and make adjustments if he wants to lead Manchester United to success in the future.