Harry Maguire: Manchester United shaken by early goal in loss to Brighton
Credit to Harry Maguire for his honesty, but Manchester United fans should be scared at what his words may betray about their club.
United allowed a pair of first-half goals after a bright and brief start to the Erik ten Hag era on Sunday, trailing 2-0 to Brighton at the break and only finding a Seagulls own goal en route to a 2-1 loss at Old Trafford.
Maguire said the first of Pascal Gross’ two goals “knocked us back really badly,” later going as far as to say the concession cost them to a man.
“We stopped playing from there and they got control from there,” Maguire said. “It’s something we need to address. Otherwise it’s going to keep happening. We had a positive preseason and we start well but the first goal felt like a big blow to us. The team, all 11 of us, reacted like that. We can’t do that.”
They can’t, but they did.
United’s entire back four struggled. The left side was better than the right but Lisandro Martinez was still fortunate to not concede a first-half penalty and Luke Shaw’s flank was where Gross potted his first goal.
Maguire says the fit will happen for the defenders, though it may not happen for the captain given a world-class centerback in Raphael Varane was on the bench.
“It’s great to have Lisandro Martinez at the club,” Maguire said, via the BBC. “We have competition for places at centerback. We’ve not played much together and in that first period we weren’t on the same wavelength. Centerback 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.”