Six things we learned from Brighton's defeat at Manchester United

Albion were unlucky to lose 1-0 at Manchester United this afternoon. Here's six things we learned from the game.

Saturday, 25th November 2017, 7:45 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 6:41 am
Albion midfielder Dale Stephens on the ball at Old Trafford. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)

Perfect ten for United but they had to work hard

Manchester United won their tenth successive home match in all competitions this season but had to work hard to grind out victory against Brighton.

Jose Mourinho afterwards said Albion caused them more problems than any other away side at Old Trafford this season. The Seagulls were dangerous on the counter-attack and could have scored with a bit more luck on another day.

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)

As it was, luck was on United's side with Ashley Young's deflected winner coming after a disputed corner decision.

Mourinho kept Paul Pogba on for the whole game for his first 90 minutes since returning from a hamstring injury and Zlatan Ibrahimovic came off the bench for his third appearance back from a knee injury.

How hard United had to work for the win was shown late on when Romelu Lukaku raced back down the wing to slide tackle Bruno and send the ball out for a throw - which gained applause from the home fans and praise from his manager in the post-match press conference.

The victory increased United's unbeaten run at Old Trafford to 39 games in all competitions.

1-0 again - Just as it was in 1993

Albion deserved more than they got as they put on an outstanding performance and were left aggrieved with the only goal of the game on 66 minutes.

Solly March was looking to shepherd the ball out of play under pressure from Romelu Lukaku and had appeared to do so but a corner was awarded. Albion cleared the initial ball in but Ashley Young picked the ball up on the edge of the penalty area and his shot took a wicked deflection off Lewis Dunk and flew into the far top corner.

Brighton complained to the officials but by that stage the damage had been done.

It was Albion's third successive 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford, matching the League Cup and FA Cup defeats in the 1992/93 season.

Tactics spot on

Albion boss Chris Hughton once again got his tactics spot on.

The 58-year-old has taken Brighton from the bottom of the Championship to the top flight of English football in just under three years in charge.

'One Chrissy Hughton' sang Albion fans early in the second half. Although Albion lost, Manchester United knew they had been in a game afterwards.

In their 13 Premier League games so far, Brighton have been in every one and not in any way been disgraced. Home form will be key this season and there's no reason why Albion can't get something at home to the likes of United, Arsenal, Liverpool and other teams in the top six if they keep producing solid performances like today.

Dunk's bad luck

Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy have received a lot of plaudits for their performances so far this season and that will no doubt continue.

Manchester journalists commentated during the game that United were struggling to break down Albion because of the central defensive duo.

Dunk was unfortunate with United's goal which is set to go down as an own goal to the defender - and it would make him the first player in Premier League history to score own goals against Manchester United and Manchester City in the same season.

Duffy went close to a late equaliser when he headed Pascal Gross' free kick wide from six yards - had it gone in, it would have been a deserved point for the Seagulls.

Tough selection

There was talk before the game of Albion boss Chris Hughton rotating his squad with matches coming thick and fast in the next few weeks.

It's a big week for the Seagulls, with today's match at Old Trafford following by home games against arch rivals Crystal Palace and Liverpool.

However, Hughton made just one change to the side that started the 2-2 draw with Stoke on Monday, with Solly March replacing Jose Izquierdo on the left wing.

Brighton made an excellent start to the match with quick counter-attacking play and had openings to take the lead in the opening 15 minutes. Anthony Knockaert just failed to find Glenn Murray with a low cross and Pascal Gross then fired a low shot straight at David De Gea.

Shane Duffy headed the best opening wide late on when Albion were chasing an equaliser.

There's no doubt all Albion players will want to be involved in the clash with Palace on Tuesday and those involved today have ensured it will be a tough call for Hughton to leave any of them out.

Theatre of Trees to Theatre of Dreams

Brighton have come a long way in a short space of time.

From almost going out of the Football League 20 years ago, they then played for 12 seasons at Withdean Stadium, known as the Theatre of Trees by Albion fans.

After moving to the Amex, Albion went close to promotion to the Premier League on several occasions before finally going up last year.

After back-to-back away wins in the top flight at West Ham and Swansea, Albion were not over-awed at Old Trafford and caused United more problems than the home faithful would have expected.

Brighton will give themselves a great chance of staying in the Premier League if they continue their current level of performance.