Erik ten Hag identifies major problem with Man Utd squad after defeat to Brighton

The Manchester United manager admitted his players are lacking belief at present.

Erik ten Hag said a lack of self-belief was largely to blame for Manchester United’s 2-1 loss to Brighton & Hove Albion.

A first-half brace from Pascal Gross wrapped up the points for Seagulls on the opening weekend of the Premier League season, spoiling Ten Hag’s first competitive game in charge of United.

It was an eerily similar display from the Red Devils as to those habitually on show last season, and in complete contrast to the largely impressive showings in pre-season.

Pascal Gross scored twice in the first half at Old Trafford. Credit: Getty.

After Brighton took the lead after half an hour, United looked short of confidence and ideas, while they found it difficult to break down the organised Brighton defence.

Speaking after the game, Ten Hag admitted his side need to be more assured going forward.

“The start was good. In the second half we dealt with the setback and dropped down in belief,” he explained in his press conference.

Several United players failed to impress in the Brighton defeat. Credit: Getty.

“That cannot happen, always you have to believe in yourself and stick together as a team. Bring the confidence onto the pitch, that is what we are here for.

“We came back in the second half,” he continued. “We had to believe on the pitch and that was good to see. They have to deal with those setbacks and give themselves belief because they are really good players.”

While disappointed with the performance against Brighton, Ten Hag said it was perhaps unsurprising that belief is low among the squad after such a dismal campaign last season.

“I can understand that after last year,” he said “It is not necessary because they are good players. Self-belief is something from yourself, you bring it onto the pitch.

“They are good [players]. They proved so many times in the past, so they will also do it in the future.

“I knew it could happen, but we should have done better, that’s clear. But also it will not come overnight. Sometimes we played better in the pre-season and today we had a bad period in the first half. We have to learn from that, that is clear.”