Manchester United’s troubled start to the season took another unexpected twist as they lost limply 3-2 at Brighton & Hove Albion yesterday with manager Jose Mourinho admitting they were punished for making too many mistakes.
Woeful defending led to two Brighton goals in two first-half minutes as 34-year-old Glenn Murray and Shane Duffy outsmarted United’s $149.21mn back four to demonstrate why manager Jose Mourinho had sought to upgrade it. Eric Bailly was particularly exposed and, having conceded a needless corner that led to Duffy’s first Premier League goal, he blundered in to foul Pascal Gross, who put away the penalty via David de Gea’s leg on the stroke of halftime.
Although Romelu Lukaku had earlier reduced the deficit with a trademark header, United looked ill-equipped to mount a comeback and were often second best to the ball. Paul Pogba’s injury-time penalty, after Marouane Fellaini was brought down, made the scoreline closer than the match itself with Mourinho admitting that his side deserved to lose.
“We made big mistakes and were punished,” said Mourinho, although he refused to criticise individuals. “The accumulation of those mistakes, and the fact that they were punished by goals, gave confidence to Brighton and took it away from us.”
Brighton’s Murray said their 3-1 home win over United last season gave them confidence that could spring another surprise. “It was all about the balls being played in to me, I got quality support,” said the striker.
Mourinho had started with Anthony Martial but the winger, who is reported to be unsettled at the club, made little impact even when Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford were brought on at halftime in an attempt to give United more of a threat up front.
Earlier, Sergio Aguero netted his 13th hat-trick for Manchester City as the champions made light of the absence of the injured Kevin De Bruyne to thrash Huddersfield Town 6-1 and move joint top of the Premier League. The prolific Argentine scored on 25, 35 and 75 minutes, also hitting the post in a devastating display to which the visitors, who last season were the only side to stop City scoring in the league at home, had no answer. Gabriel Jesus also netted, along with David Silva on his 250th league appearance for City, with the rout completed by a Terence Kongolo own goal late on after excellent work from substitute Leroy Sane.
“I am happy,” said Aguero, who was about to be replaced when he scored his third. “I was a little bit tired. I try two or three times to get the third goal.” For once, Pep Guardiola chose to pair Aguero with Jesus up front and such were the array of City attacking options that Huddersfield were simply pulled apart. After the visitors rode their luck for 25 minutes, City keeper Ederson found Aguero with a perfect through ball and the Argentine kept his cool to finish cleverly. Jesus was next on the scoresheet after exchanging passes with Benjamin Mendy and firing past Ben Hamer, who then fumbled a cross to gift Aguero his second and City’s third in a blistering 10-minute spell before halftime.
Although Jon Stankovic pulled a goal back before the interval, there was no respite as Silva produced a perfect free kick to cap an impressive display in front of his watching wife and child. Aguero flicked home his third on 75 minutes and Kongolo put through his own net late on — the ninth goal Huddersfield have conceded in two games.
Watford made it two wins out of two and ended their run of poor away form in impressive fashion as early second half strikes from captain Troy Deeney and Will Hughes gave them a 3-1 win at Burnley.
English Premier League results:
Brighton 3 (Murray 25, Duffy 27, Gross 44-pen) Manchester United 2 (Lukaku 34, Pogba 90-pen); Burnley 1 (Tarkowski 6) Watford 3 (Gray 3, Deeney 48, Hughes 51); Manchester City 6 (Aguero 25, 35, 75, Jesus 31, D.Silva 48, Kongolo 84-og) Huddersfield 1 (Stankovic 43)Playing Monday: Crystal Palace v Liverpool
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