It may have been the start of a new season and new era, but Roy Keane noticed that Manchester United were guilty of “the same shortcomings” as they lost to Brighton.
In the first competitive game of Erik ten Hag’s reign as Manchester United manager, the team fell to a 2-1 defeat at home to Brighton. They conceded both Brighton goals in the first half, each being scored by Pascal Gross.
An own goal via Alexis Mac Allister halved the deficit in the second half, but the damage was done. Manchester United ultimately started the season on a negative note.
There is clearly lots of work for Ten Hag to do to lift last season’s sixth-place finishers. Despite his arrival and a handful of new signings, it will take time for things to change.
Outspoken pundit Keane was well aware of the lingering issues still needing to be fixed. Speaking after the full-time whistle on Sky Sports, Keane said that Man Utd remained inadequate off the ball.
The former captain said: “You were hoping for more from Manchester United but it was the same shortcomings out of possession. Not good enough – giving away poor goals.
“But credit to Brighton, they were outstanding.”
Several players will be under the microscope as usual if Man Utd fail to improve quickly. For Keane, there were two familiar scapegoats in his former position of midfield.
He added: “Fred and [Scott] McTominay are not good enough. They won’t get Manchester United back competing. We see it week in, week out.”
Roy Keane names where Man Utd are worst in the Premier League
Keane had already aired his frustrations via the same platform at half-time, when United were two goals down.
He had said: “Man Utd look very, very fragile. Same problems. Question the personality in the team. The big problem for Man Utd, out of possession they look so open.
“Gaps everywhere, so open it’s untrue.”
He did qualify, though, that the flaws are not too surprising at this early stage of Ten Hag’s tenure.
Keane continued: “We shouldn’t be that surprised because we talk about the changes in the team and the personality and the new manager. And of course he will need time.
“I go back to the personalities of the team. The two in the middle of the park – all over the place.”
Furthermore, he concluded with a damning claim, adding: “Out of possession, Man Utd are as poor as any team, I think, in the Premier League.
“And I know it’s early days but I’m going back to the habits they had last year. It’s well and good when you’re in possession – it’s when you’re out of it, too open.”
Man Utd will have to find a quick fix to get a better result out of their next game, away at Brentford on August 13.