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Paul Pogba delivers worst performance in Man United shirt in loss at Brighton

Manchester United lost 1-0 at Brighton, a game where the hosts secured their Premier League status for another season, in a performance as abject as any United have produced under Jose Mourinho. It was a performance lacking in urgency until the 70th minute, when United seemed to realise the gravity of the situation, but a defeat with intensity and discipline of this nature was no less than they deserved.


David De Gea produced a cluster of saves that showed why he is one of the world's very best.


Almost too numerous to mention, so conservative were the tactics, but Paul Pogba was poor in possession, Matteo Darmian and Ashley Young were too timid in wide areas, and Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford made poor decisions in attack.

Manager rating out of 10

4 -- Mourinho chose two full-backs who did not push forward and put them behind a right-winger and central midfielder (Juan Mata and Marouane Fellaini) who lack pace. The result was a strangely passive performance for the best part of 70 minutes, by which time they were already behind.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK David De Gea, 8 -- Made a flurry of fine saves in the first half, one of which was superb, confirming why he has been named the club's player of the year for a fourth time.

DF Matteo Darmian, 4 -- Offered precious little in attack, inviting pressure from Brighton with his failure to attack the byline or to overlap.

DF Chris Smalling, 5 -- Hi passing was unduly conservative throughout, failing to set the tempo. Covered fairly well against limited central threats.

DF Marcos Rojo, 6 -- Was less assertive passing the ball forwards than usual, but got across to clear the lines when needed.

Manchester United's Paul Pogba
Paul Pogba has been in fine form of late but that went out the window with an extremely ineffective outing at Brighton.

DF Ashley Young, 4 -- His passes infield instead of down the line put consistent pressure on his midfield and back four and isolated Martial on the wing, stopping his team from building attacks at speed.

MF Nemanja Matic, 6 -- Positionally sound but unable to thread the passes into the final third through a congested Brighton midfield.

MF Marouane Fellaini, 4 -- Was unable to provide dynamism on or off the ball, his passing limited in scope, and he was passed too easily.

MF Paul Pogba, 4 -- As ineffectual as he has been in a United shirt, making poor decisions time and again in dangerous positions. Difficult to remember another game where he has so often turned needlessly into danger.

MF Juan Mata, 5 -- Worked hard but to little avail. His passes were too often square rather than forwards and incisive, and his final ball lacked precision when it truly counted.

FW Marcus Rashford, 5 -- Showed only flashes of the player he is at his best, and was too often found making poor choices with and without the ball.

FW Anthony Martial, 5 -- Looked like a player who has been out of the fray, running too often into blind alleys where defenders working in tandem could easily deal with his quick feet.


DF Luke Shaw, 7 (for Darmian, 68 mins) -- Added so much more urgency than Darmian that it is a wonder he was not introduced earlier.

MF Jesse Lingard, 6 (for Fellaini, 68 mins) -- Gave a measure of thrust to the attack but could not find a way through.

MF Scott McTominay, N/R (for Rojo, 76) -- His use of the ball was crisp and economical as ever, but not creative enough to make the difference.

Musa Okwonga is one of ESPN FC's Manchester United bloggers. Follow on Twitter: @Okwonga.


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