Brighton move up to fourth with 3-1 win over Man Utd

Danny Welbeck scores for Brighton at Old Trafford

Brighton are third in the Premier League after winning four of their opening five games

Manchester United were beaten 3-1 by Brighton at Old Trafford as the home crowd turned on manager Erik ten Hag.

Ten Hag has enjoyed the overwhelming backing of United fans since his arrival last summer and the majority have supported the Dutchman in his current dispute with winger Jadon Sancho.

But they let Ten Hag know they did not agree with his decision to replace new signing Rasmus Hojlund with Anthony Martial 19 minutes into the second period in no uncertain manner, as a cacophony of boos rang round the stadium before the Dane was applauded off.

The change didn’t make much difference for United, who were behind thanks to a first-half goal from one-time home favourite Danny Welbeck, which was followed up after the interval by efforts from Pascal Gross and substitute Joao Pedro, who were both given far too much space around the United penalty box.

Hannibal Mejbri’s first United goal gave the hosts some hope, but in a frenetic finish it was the visitors who came closest to finding the net again as Andre Onana made four excellent saves, the best of which came in injury-time to deny on-loan Barcelona man Ansu Fati a debut goal.

It was United’s first home defeat in 13 months, when Brighton again triumphed here. The Seagulls are now on a run of four successive Premier League wins over their hosts, and this victory brought more boos at the final whistle, though not on anywhere near the same scale as when Hojlund was withdrawn.

Ten Hag’s side have now conceded 10 goals in their last four games, and have also conceded more than one in four successive league matches for the first time since 1979.

Things were not supposed to be like this for United.

Six points from their opening five games represents their worst start since the 2014-15 campaign under Louis van Gaal.

In addition to the three damaging defeats they suffered, they are also without Sancho, who is training away from the first team after he said on social media he felt he was being made a scapegoat by Ten Hag in a clear challenge to the manager’s authority.

Fellow winger Antony is also absent, having been given time off to address allegations made by his former partner.

With new signings Mason Mount and Sofyan Amrabat watching from the stands, Ten Hag is clearly struggling with significant membersof his squad missing.

Still, United had plenty of experience on show, but with the exception of Marcus Rashford they were largely toothless in attack.

The England forward had one first-half effort deflected onto the angle between post and crossbar, and also supplied the low cross which Hojlund, sliding in, probably should have converted.

At that point, with the game still goalless and United enjoying an encouraging start, a goal could have been pivotal.

As it was, the home side’s momentum gradually petered out and there was no repeat of the heroics which saw them come from two goals down to win against Nottingham Forest last month.

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