Brighton 0-3 Man Utd: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Bruno Fernandes Runs Riot

Paul Pogba, Mason Greenwood
Manchester United looked very sharp as they raced into a 2-0 lead. | Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

A very impressive Manchester United picked up a crucial three points on Tuesday evening, blitzing Brighton 3-0 at the Amex Stadium.

It was the away side who settled straight in and dictated play, and they came close to opening the scoring through Bruno Fernandes inside 15 minutes – but his shot from the edge of the box hit the post. However, United did take the lead very soon after as Mason Greenwood fired in beautifully at the near post.

The Red Devils doubled their lead just before the half hour mark, Fernandes finishing off Paul Pogba’s pass. Brighton looked to get on the front foot in the second half, but United produced a breathtaking counter-attack to make it 3-0. A stunning pass from Nemanja Matic set Greenwood away and he raced forward before playing a pinpoint cross to Fernandes, who ruthlessly powered home.

The Seagulls pushed forward as they looked to pull a goal back, but United were able to keep hold of their clean sheet and pick up a valuable three points.

Here’s 90min‘s breakdown of the game…

Key Talking Point

A few eyebrows will have been raised when Graham Potter’s starting XI was released, as he decided to leave Neal Maupay on the bench. Speaking ahead of the game, Potter described it as ‘tactical’ as he went in search of greater pace up front in order to challenge the United backline.

Alexis Mac AllisterAlexis Mac Allister
Brighton never looked competitive | Pool/Getty Images

The tactical switch saw Tariq Lamptey operate on the right wing as well – but while it was clear to see the plan, it limited Brighton’s ability to put any real pressure on the away side and attack them. United dominated possession, but each time the Seagulls won the ball back, they were stuck for options before ultimately giving the ball away.

Potter attempted to change things with a double substitution, but it simply wasn’t enough as the damage had already been done. The tactical switch did not have the desired impact Potter will have been looking for, resulting in a very poor display.

Starting XI: Ryan (4); Lamptey (6), Dunk (6), Duffy (5), Burn (5); Montoya (5), Pröpper (5), Bissouma (5), Stephens (4), Mac Allister (4); Connolly (5)

Substitutes: Maupay (6), Trossard (7*), Bernardo (5), Mooy (5), March (N/A)

Nemanja Matic, Leandro TrossardNemanja Matic, Leandro Trossard
Leandro Trossard was bright when he came on | Pool/Getty Images

Brighton were very poor, with few players doing much to stand out from the crowd. But substitute Leandro Trossard made a positive impact during his time on the field, purposefully looking to shift the ball on and link play.

Trossard was able to find areas of space between the United midfield and defence, constantly playing on the half turn and thinking positively. Ultimately, he wasn’t able to change the direction of the game but his display ensured the Seagulls were at least competitive in the second half.

Key Talking Point

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer opted to make wholesale changes for the FA Cup clash with Norwich at the weekend, but the game with Brighton saw the boss name the same side as the one that impressively overcame Sheffield United in their last Premier League game.

Bruno Fernandes, Marcus RashfordBruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford
Man Utd were dominant | Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

The Red Devils immediately settled into a nice rhythm and it didn’t take long to find an opening. With Matic operating at the base of the midfield, this allowed Fernandes and Paul Pogba to get forward and influence the game higher up.

And the pair did just that. The Seagulls struggled to get close to them, with each picking up pockets of space before either driving forward or bringing their teammates into the game.

It was a team performance of the highest quality, with United dictating the game and looking menacing with each and every attack.

Starting XI: De Gea (7); Wan-Bissaka (7), Lindelöf (6), Maguire (7), Shaw (7); Pogba (8), Matić (8); Greenwood (9*), Fernandes (9), Rashford (7); Martial (7)

Substitutes: McTominay (6), Andreas (6), Williams (6), Ighalo (6), James (6)

Mason GreenwoodMason Greenwood
Mason Greenwood was on target for United | Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Quite honestly, a whole host of United players could have picked up the star player award – but Greenwood’s influence on the game simply couldn’t be ignored.

While he started out on the right, Greenwood popped up all over the pitch – picking up pockets of space to link up with teammates and constantly cause problems for the Brighton defence.

His opening goal was another reminder of his ability to find a yard of space even in the tightest of situations, shifting the ball and quickly unleashing a low shot. But equally, he showed his vision for his assist for the third goal, playing a pinpoint cross into the feet of Fernandes to score.

At just 18, Mason Greenwood looks a special, special talent.

Brighton next face a trip to take on Norwich on Saturday, before they welcome champions Liverpool on Wednesday.

Man Utd, meanwhile, host Bournemouth on Saturday before travelling to take on Aston Villa on Thursday.

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