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Erik ten Hag on Manchester United loss, Ronaldo’s fitness and future

Brighton gave Erik ten Hag a nightmare start at Manchester United, as Pascal Gross' first-half brace lifted the Seagulls to a deserved 2-1 win at Old Trafford.

Erik ten Hag is “not satisfied” and “totally not happy” after Manchester United lost 2-1 to Brighton and Hove Albion in his Premier League and Old Trafford debut on Sunday.

“Definitely a setback,” Ten Hag said after the loss, which stood as 2-0 at the break.

“It’s a real disappointment and we have to deal with it. I knew from the start it wouldn’t be easy. It’s a process that takes time. We don’t have time. We have to win games. We should’ve done better.”

[ MORE: What we learned from Man Utd 1-2 Brighton ]

Ten Hag said that Pascal Gross’ two first-half goals but started with “unnecessary” giveaways and poor organization.

United captain Harry Maguire said the Red Devils lost confidence, to a man, after Gross’ first goal and couldn’t find their footing until halftime.

Ten Hag agreed with the second part.

“The reaction, in the second half, we are acting as one team and battling for a better result. It’s not about that we didn’t battle or have the right attitude. We made mistakes on the ball, passing the ball, and organization mistakes.”

Erik ten Hag on Cristiano Ronaldo’s performance, fitness, future

Ten Hag thought United was better after the break, which saw him plug Cristiano Ronaldo up top

“It’s clear to see that the second half that we were better in the midfield with Christian Eriksen down [into the midfield] and Cristiano Ronaldo up, and we created,” Ten Hag said. “It’s a pity that we didn’t score for 2-2.”

The new Man United boss says that Ronaldo is still working his way to full fitness and will be better in the near future, betraying no hints of an impending exit for the Portuguese superstar.

“It takes time,” Ten Hag said. “You cannot force it. A little bit more than one week in training now. This game will help him. 35-40 minutes and now we have one week and he will be better next week.”

Follow @NicholasMendola