Ten Hag makes history in EPL managerial debut, admits Ronaldo makes Man United look better
Unfortunately for Ten Hag and fans of the Red Devils – but to the delight of their Liverpool counterparts – it is not a record that will be fondly remembered at United.
WATCH: Ten Hag declares he will put United back on top
It was, after all, the first time that Brighton & Hove Albion had beaten United at Old Trafford, with Graham Potter’s men running out 2-1 winners over the home side.
The defeat left United fans feeling all ‘Gross-ed’ out, with many taking to social media to lament how their team has somehow managed to get weaker over the summer, despite all and sundry recognising the deep flaws present in the squad.
Ironically, it was substitute Cristiano Ronaldo – a man so desperate to leave United that he has basically dropped his pants for any and every Champions League club this summer – who was one of the few bright spots for Ten Hag’s side.
WATCH: Ten Hag explains why he didn't start Ronaldo
“It was clear to see that the second half, we were better in midfield with Eriksen down and Ronaldo up,” Ten Hag, who had publicly chastised Ronaldo last week, admitted.
“Then we created and Rashford had two really good chances. It's a pity we didn't score them for 2-2. It [Ronaldo's fitness] takes time, you cannot force it. He has had one week of training so is a little bit more and he has to do more to get fit. This game will help him with 35/40 minutes. Now we have one week and he will be better next week.”
But Ten Hag, who willingly opted to play Harry Maguire, Scott McTominay and Fred in his starting XI despite not having a gun held to his head, bemoaned the “unnecessary” defeat to Brighton.
“It is definitely a setback, a real disappointment, but we have to deal with it. I knew from the start that it wouldn't be easy, it's a process and takes time, but we don't have time. We have to win games and we should have done better,” said Ten Hag.
“It was unnecessary. We gave too many easy balls away and the organisation was a big mistake. It was not the way we made it out, we made it clear how to deal with certain situations when we drop in. But that happens, we have to analyse and take the lessons from it.
“It [the challenges this season] are the same. I knew before it would not be easy to construct it, to build it, develop it and it takes time. I know we don't have time, we have to deliver and we are aware of this situation.
“I said it in the dressing room that I saw it [togetherness] in the game. In the action in the second half, we were acting as one team, battling for a better result. It's not that we didn't battle or we didn't have the right attitude, we made mistakes on the ball, passing mistakes, organisational mistakes and in defending.
“We have to [fix the mistakes quickly], but we also have to take the lessons and learn quickly from it.”