After encouraging comments from Jose Mourinho pre-match many United supporters felt confident returning to the Amex, even after their woes there toward the end of last season.
Manchester United started the game sluggishly and while they dominated possession, they never had a look of potency about them.
Brighton took the lead with two quickfire goals and while United pulled one back through a header from Lukaku they never really kicked on from there. Brighton again reopened their two-goal lead when a rash challenge from Eric Bailly in the box allowed Pascal Gross to slot home from the spot.
The game finished 3-2 after Pogba scored a late consolation penalty in the 93 minute.
With the result, let’s look at three worrying signs for Manchester United ahead of the season.
1. Eric Bailly looked lost
Many say United’s best centre-half is Eric Bailly, but today that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Even after his rash penalty giveaway, he failed to keep his game simple and go back to basics, constantly losing the ball and failing to have the awareness to realise when he was being closed down. It is true Bailly has potential but without an experienced leader alongside him to act as a shepherd, he lacks the concentration and composure to be a United centre-back.
2. United’s midfield was run ragged
Possibly United’s biggest problem today was their lack of control in the middle of the park.
Brighton’s midfield was full of energy, constantly closing down the United players and forcing mistakes. United meanwhile sorely lacked the presence and composure of Nemanja Matic in midfield. While Andreas Pereira looked good against Leceister, in tighter spaces today and against a more organised team, he looked out of his comfort zone.
3. United’s impotency in attack
Even with all their possession United never quite looked a threat to Brighton. What is telling is the fact that during the course of the game United only registered two shots on target.
What United needed to do was get the ball to players who could affect the game such as Anthony Martial, Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford. While these players seemed to remain anonymous throughout the game, one could argue it was down to the midfield not providing them with enough service.
Even so, Lukaku missed an early chance that could have changed the complexion of the game and when the forwards did have the ball they weren’t sure what to do with it.
Manchester United will be hoping to get back to winning ways when they face Tottenham Hotspur next Monday.