Brighton vs Manchester United in pictures
The last time Manchester United travelled to Brighton, they were thumped 4-0 on a chastening day at the Amex Stadium. Ralf Rangnick was in charge for that showdown and then, to make matters worse, two of his senior players were then involved in a training ground bust-up. Fast-forward to now, however, and it’s clear Erik ten Hag deserves credit for completely transforming the club.
Manchester United were a shambles last season, with the Red Devils enduring a nightmare campaign under both Rangnick and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
There were many low points during the course of that season, from the heavy defeats home and away to Liverpool to humiliating losses against the likes of Manchester City, Wolves and Leicester.
But their 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Brighton was arguably the worst of the lot.
United were particularly dire that day, with goals from Moises Caicedo, Marc Cucurella, Pascal Gross and Leandro Trossard giving Graham Potter’s side all three points.
Then, days later, news of a training ground bust-up emerged.
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The Sun said two senior players were forced apart as tempers boiled over at the club’s Carrington training complex.
So damaging was the fight to morale that Rangnick actually cut the training session short.
The report says the duo ‘went at it’ and even those used to bust-ups between team-mates were left ‘stunned’ by what unfolded.
It came after Rangnick had given his side four days off following the Brighton defeat, with the German branding that defeat ‘unacceptable.’
“To start with, it’s important we apologise to our supporters who came all the way from Manchester here to Brighton,” he said in the direct aftermath of that result.
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“We were just not good enough from start to finish. The performance was not only poor, it was extremely poor.”
He added: “For me, the problem is how to defend as a team and in this league, if you play against good teams and Brighton is a good team, if you do not defend properly, if you just let them play and give them all the space and time in the world, this is the result.
“It was a humiliating defeat today and even more so for a team like Manchester United, that was the second-highest defeat in my whole career as a coach in the last 35 years.
“But it’s not only that you lose 4-0, it was the way that we played and this is just unacceptable, very difficult to deal with and cope.
“Full responsibility on my side for the performance but it’s difficult, really difficult why we played like we played against Brentford on Monday and played like we did today.”
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Fast-forward to now, however, and Ten Hag has worked his magic to bring his dressing room together.
United are a team of fighters these days, as showcased in their gritty 1-0 victory over Aston Villa on Sunday.
The Dutchman’s reign got off to a rocky start when they lost 2-1 to Brighton at Old Trafford on the opening day of the season.
Things then went from bad to worse after a horrendous 4-0 loss away at Brentford, with some even calling for Ten Hag to lose his job that day.
But, ever since, United have been a team on an upwards trajectory.
They were able to avenge their recent defeats to Brighton last month, beating the Seagulls in the semi-finals of the FA Cup.
And United are on the verge of returning to the Champions League after their absence from the competition this year.
A whole 12 months ago, the Red Devils looked unstable, unconvincing and unbothered.
Things are different these days, however, and they’ll be confident of putting Brighton the sword when Thursday’s clash kicks off.
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