‘Worst possible start’ – Captain Harry Maguire admits it’s ‘not good enough’ after nightmare defeat to Brighton
MANCHESTER UNITED captain Harry Maguire has blasted the team’s start after suffering a 2-1 defeat to Brighton on the opening day.
A Pascal Gross brace ensured the Erik ten Hag era at Manchester United got off to a bad start.
Maguire, who was run ragged in the first half by Danny Welbeck, explained the poor start.
He told Sky Sports: “We went into the game positive, we had a good pre-season and it was the worst possible start to be 2-0 down at half-time at Old Trafford.
“We got a goal back but we huffed and puffed a bit and it’s a bad start for us.
“We started pretty well and on the front foot and as a team we had control.
“Then we conceded the first goal and that knocked us badly. We need to look at not letting that first goal set us back as much as it did. It was a nightmare start to be 2-0 down at half-time.
“We spoke about getting the next goal (at half-time). I think in the second half you saw good parts to our game but overall we didn’t do enough.
“We had a lot of pressure and a lot of ball but we need to be a bit more creative and we need to improve on that
“It’s something we need to address or it’ll keep happening. The first goal felt like a big blow to all 11 of our players.”
Maguire partnered new boy Lisandro Martinez in central defence, with both suffering a torrid first-half thanks to Welbeck’s efforts.
Martinez was lucky not to give away a penalty in the second half too, barging Welbeck to the floor with the score still 2-0.
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Both did improve in the second half with United showing more urgency, but by then the damage was done and Ten Hag’s side failed to recover despite the introduction of Cristiano Ronaldo.
On his new defensive partner, Maguire added: “It’s great to have Lisandro Martinez at the club. We have competition for places at centre-back.
“We’ve not played much together and in that first period we weren’t on the same wavelength. Centre-back partnerships are built over time and we will get a lot better and keep clean sheets.
“Everyone knew the task. We had a bad season last season. We’ve got a new manager trying to put his philosophy on the team but when we don’t get it right we look far too open.”
Brighton’s win today was their first ever in the Premier League era at Old Trafford.
Roy Keane described United as “fragile” following the first-half as fans made their feelings known by booing the team off the pitch, while Paul Scholes labelled the performances of Fred and Scott McTominay as “criminal.”
While there were some signs of what Ten Hag wants to cultivate at Old Trafford, it has been made abundantly clear that this will not be a quick-fix job.
Instead it will certainly be a deep cleanse of the club, provided the Dutchman is allowed to bring in the players he needs to make it happen and overhaul a toxic club culture.