It was a new dawn for Manchester United, hopes were raised, and it seems like a shining light is in the neighbourhood, but after 90 minutes of football, it was the same old sad story for the Red Devils.

Erik ten Hag has been announced as the new manager of Man United even before the end of the last campaign, a man known for free-flowing, possessive, attacking football has come to be the Messiah of Man United and wash their sins away.

Theatre of Dreams turned Theatre of Nightmares as yesterday’s match against Brighton and Hove Albion didn’t turn out as envisaged.

Manchester United only lost one of their pre-season games but had been showing signs of going back to its old self with the performance against Aston Villa and Athletico Madrid.

Brighton reverted to their three centre-backs, compensating for Cuccurella and Bissouma loss but were still efficient enough to get three points at the Theatre of Dreams.

Why is Manchester United still struggling

The effects of McFred

Whenever Manchester United plays with Mc Tominay and Fred in the Center/Defensive Midfield, they are already playing two men to do a one-man job and it’s not even done effectively.

The Samba Pastor, Fred was the deeper of the two, trying to get the ball from defenders and link it to the attack. Apparently, Fred can’t pass to save his life as he displaced passes on multiple occasions (lost 3 passes in the first 9 minutes).

This is abysmal for a team that wants to play possessive football from the back and dominate the attack. A defensive midfielder should be able to start the attack of his team and not just chase the ball around.

Scott Mc Tominay’s presence to bully opponents was cut short when he saw a yellow card for that awful foul on Moses Caicedo. Mc Tominay played like a car with a sound engine but no steering to direct his play.

This is notably the reason why Erik ten hag in all his abundant knowledge substituted Fred and Mc Tominay.

It was evident that when Eriksen was given full freedom to get the ball from the defence and link it with the attack, there was a significant change.

I am positive Erik ten Hag will be knocking on the board’s door to sign in a ball-playing defensive midfielder, probably Frenkie De Jong or Ruben Neves or somebody not named Mc Tominay or Fred.

Sancho needs to play on the left-wing

This math against Brighton has once again shown that Sancho flourishes more on the left wing than on the right side.

Unfortunately, his wing partner is a disaster on the right side of the attack and this compels him and the manager to compromise and play him on the right wing.

However, Sancho is a better left-wing forward than Rashford and in recent years, the difference is almost by a country mile.

The solution is for Manchester United to sign a naturally skilled right-wing forward but Ajax had made their intention clear on Anthony, saying he is not for sale. There are still many right-wing forwards who will be open to a move, an example is Chelsea’s Hakim Ziyech who has previously shone under ETH.

Bruno Fernandes playing as a False 9

False 9 is right from the playbook of Cryuff. The idea was good, stretching a 3-man centre-back Brighton with Rashford and Sancho playing wide and leading to their early chance squandered by Fernandes.

However, as soon as Brighton found their rhythm and put Manchester United on their toes, Fred and Mc Tominay failed to deliver, making Bruno fall further down to help in transitioning the ball from defence to attack which had a side effect of leaving the attack short-handed.

Positives

Christain Eriksen has shown he is the man for the job with an amazing display in his free role, transitioning the ball from defence to attack as well as firing shots to upset the Brighton goalkeeper- Sanchez.

Martinez ball playing ability was surreal, playing as the last man evidently when Manchester United was attacking. His calm and control of the ball were what kept the attack going.

Verdict

Manchester United need to sign a proper ball-playing defensive midfielder like Frenkie, and Ruben Neves. The Red Devils also need to sign a proper left-footed right-wing forward and deploy Sancho to the left.

Finally, they need to sign another, young proper number 9 to help in their goal conversion.