Manchester United’s 3-2 defeat to Brighton last Sunday was one of the club’s worst performances under Jose Mourinho since he took charge in 2016.
To rub salt into the wounds, United’s disappointment was heightened following Manchester City’s emphatic 6-1 win over Huddersfield earlier on in the day.
Despite it only being the second game of the season, fans have been quick to vocalise their opinions on the manager with many calling for the Portuguese to leave or be sacked.
United’s woes can, however, not be pinned down to one reason. Here are three potential causes for the loss:
1 A lack of structure or system
When comparing Brighton and Manchester United's lineups on paper, there should only ever have been one winner in this one.
Yet despite their lineup boasting nearly £400 million worth of players, United only registered three shots on target, one of which was Paul Pogba's penalty.
Jose Mourinho's style of play has come under criticism in the past from fans and pundits alike, and, after the weekend's result, it was only a matter of time before the same old comments appeared again.
But can you blame them? Even with the embarrassment of riches available to the Red Devils, there continues to be an issue in maximising this talent with the players often looking like strangers when playing together on the field.
Undoubtedly, the lack of attacking philosophy from Mourinho is affecting certain players. Many fans have taken to social media to ask what the players are doing during training as there is no evidence of offensive coaching when the side take to the field.
Compared to the likes of City, Liverpool, Tottenham and now Chelsea, Manchester United look to have fallen behind the curve, especially when it comes to going forward with the ball.
2 Individual errors
Despite there being a lack of harmony and system when the players take to the field, the players were also their own worst enemies against Brighton United.
The main culprit in this regard was Eric Bailly who had his worst performance in a United shirt since joining the club last summer. After giving away many fouls, including the Brighton penalty itself, the Ivorian's display summed up what a terrible day it was all round for the Red Devils.
Bailly is a player who United can usually rely on and, it should be noted, he wasn't the only player making errors on the field: Romelu Lukaku's poor touches, Fred's difficulty in settling into the team and Paul Pogba's half-hearted efforts to defend all accumulated to make this a day to forget for Mourinho and his men.
It may have only been the second game of the season but there is much work ahead for this current United side who, for the time being, do not look like title contenders.
3 Attitude problems
Before a ball had even been kicked on the field, it appears that many of the Manchester United players were not in the right mindset for the game. They were certainly not up for the fight.
Last season, the same group of players also lost away to Huddersfield, Newcastle and Brighton: all three being fixtures that they should be winning comfortably.
Alarmingly, the players seem to crumble somewhat when they come up against sides who like to press and this has a tendency to make it awkward for United to play away from home, especially in grounds where the crowd get on their backs.
Against Brighton last Sunday, there were clear signs of what was to come when the Seagulls came out winning every second ball and getting in the faces of their opposition.
After the game, Paul Pogba publically admitted that his own attitude was not good enough, stating that Brighton had 'more hunger' than United and that his side 'did not deserve to win.'
Pogba's comments could be applied to every single player in a red shirt on Sunday, none of whom looked as though they wanted to play for their manager.
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