Erik ten Hag lost his first game as Manchester United manager on Sunday afternoon as Brighton won 2-1 at Old Trafford thanks to a brace from German winger Pascal Gross
Erik ten Hag will not have fond memories of his first Premier League game in charge of Manchester United after they were humbled 2-1 by Brighton at Old Trafford.
A brace from Pascal Gross was enough for Graham Potter's side to earn all three points, despite Alexis Mac Allister's own goal. The result will concern United fans as they face Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester City in their next eight Premier League fixtures.
There was a lot to take from United's opening day defeat to the Seagulls, including Ten Hag's decision to bench wantaway forward Cristiano Ronaldo and new defender Lisandro Martinez's questionable debut. Here are the latest headlines from Old Trafford.
Ten Hag admits Ronaldo regret
Ten Hag conceded that United played better once Ronaldo came off the bench against Brighton. The Dutchman opted against starting the prolific forward in favour of Christian Eriksen as a withdrawn forward, with Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho on the wings.
Although he didn't score, Ronaldo made an immediate impact. His run in behind setting up Rashford's saved effort. The 37-year-old has endured a rollercoaster pre-season, missing their tour for personal reasons and requesting to leave Old Trafford.
Ten Hag said before kick-off that he left Ronaldo on the bench because 45 minutes of match action – against Rayo Vallecano last weekend – was not sufficient practice. But in his post-match press conference he admitted the impact his wantaway forward made.
"It is clear to see [that in] the second half we were better in midfield with Eriksen down and Ronaldo up," Ten Hag said at full-time. "We created and Rashford had two good chances, it is a shame we did not score."
Maguire raises Martinez worry
Harry Maguire has admitted he wasn't on the same wavelength as Martinez on Sunday.
Captain Maguire and Martinez were perhaps fortunate to get the nod ahead of Ten Hag's other defensive options. Fellow centre-back Raphael Varane was left on the bench, while Victor Lindelof, Eric Bailly and Phil Jones didn't make the 20-man squad.
"It’s great to have Lisandro Martinez at the club," Maguire told Sky Sports. "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."
Ten Hag appears to have dismissed the idea of United bringing in fresh talent.
Many United supporters would like to see Ten Hag make another few signings before the transfer window closes. The new manager has brought in just three players since his arrival earlier this summer - Tyrell Malacia, Christian Eriksen and Lisandro Martinez.
That's surprising considering Ten Hag's predecessor Ralf Rangnick told his successor he needed to perform 'open-heart surgery' on the first-team squad. United finished sixth in the Premier League last season and haven't won a major trophy since May 2017.
The Red Devils have also lost countless players this summer for one reason or another. Lee Grant, Edinson Cavani, Jesse Lingard, Nemanja Matic, Paul Pogba and Andreas Pereira have all completed permanent moves away Old Trafford. United have also allowed Dean Henderson, Alvaro Fernandez and Alex Telles to fulfil loan deals.
But Ten Hag wants his current players to improve before he starts thinking about a major overhaul. When asked if United need more players before the transfer window closes in September, the Dutchman told reporters: "We could do better with the players we had."