Wednesday 24 April 2019

The good, the bad and the Duffy!

Brighton 3 Manchester United 2   

THWARTED: United boss Jose Mourinho speaks with Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku. Photo: AFP/Getty
THWARTED: United boss Jose Mourinho speaks with Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku. Photo: AFP/Getty

Republic of Ireland international Shane Duffy scored a goal and gave away a penalty in a man-of-the-match display as Brighton stunned a defensively shoddy Manchester United 3-2 at the Amex Stadium.

Target-man Glenn Murray swept home his first goal of the season to toast his 200th Brighton appearance on 19 minutes, before Duffy and Pascal Gross left United reeling.

Romelu Lukaku found the net amid Brighton's first-half raids, but when Eric Bailly upended Gross to gift the hosts a penalty the Red Devils were effectively beaten by half-time.

Captain Paul Pogba struck a stoppage-time penalty for United but Brighton had done enough to earn a deserved victory.

After the game, Pogba, admitted that he thought Brighton showed more desire than United.

"They had more hunger than us. I put myself first, that my attitude wasn't right enough. We made mistakes we shouldn't make. We tried to push and push, we kept trying, but it was a bit too late," he told Sky Sports.

"We were playing at home last week and that's different. Different teams, different tactics. I know you cannot always play very, very good. The attitude always has to be very good and we missed that."

United boss Jose Mourinho will doubtless be furious with his side's early defensive disarray - then later their inability to launch a fightback.

A surly Mourinho spent the build-up to this clash choosing to criticise rivals Manchester City's fly-on-the-wall documentary.

United's boss hit out at City, claiming "you can't buy class" in reaction to Amazon's behind-the-scenes account of last season at the Etihad Stadium.

At Brighton yesterday however, the commodity United most needed to fork out for was imagination.

When Brighton's fans chorused, "Your city is blue" at the death, United and Mourinho's humiliation was complete.

This was just the 10th time in Premier League history that United leaked three first-half goals, and the first time since their 3-0 defeat at Arsenal in October 2015.

Brighton toppled United 1-0 on the south coast in May en route to a 15th-place finish in last term's Prem ier League. Just three months down the line, the Seagulls were at it again, with Gross - who hit the winner against United last term - instrumental again.

Lukaku's snatched, wayward shot was all United had to show for a wretched opening half-hour.

Murray conjured a tidy finish to put the hosts ahead and just two minutes later the Seagulls supporters were on their feet again as Duffy slotted in after United failed to clear their lines.


Lukaku made no mistake with his second chance however, heading home from close range.

But just when United expected to force their way back into the contest, more poor defending cost them again.

Bailly upended Gross from behind to concede a spot-kick that the Austrian then converted.

Brighton took a healthy 3-1 lead into the break and Mourinho used the interval to hook Juan Mata and Andreas Pereira.

England men Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard joined the fray with United desperate for an injection of pace and incision.

Mourinho then threw on Marouane Fellaini in place of Anthony Martial on the hour, but still United continued in listless fashion.

Pogba converted his second penalty in as many games after Duffy upended Fellaini, but it was too little, too late for United.

Mourinho could inspire no comeback from his faltering charges, and the ex-Chelsea boss will now demand an instant reaction when United host Tottenham on August 27.

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