Erik ten Hag criticised for ‘disjointed’ Manchester United display, by Mike Phelan

Manchester United v Brighton & Hove Albion - Premier League

Erik ten Hag is having a very difficult start to the season with Manchester United (Picture: Getty Images)

Former Manchester United assistant manager Mike Phelan feels Erik ten Hag rotated his side too much and played into the hands of Brighton in a ‘disjointed’ performance on Saturday.

The Red Devils were embarrassed at Old Trafford against the Seagulls, losing 3-1 to Roberto De Zerbi’s impressive side.

After a shaky start to the campaign, Ten Hag mixed things up this weekend, bringing Scott McTominay into a midfield diamond, while Rasmus Hojlund was handed his first start in a front two with Marcus Rashford.

United started brightly but it fell away badly and they suffered their third defeat in just five games, leaving Phelan questioning Ten Hag’s choices.

‘It was disjointed,’ Phelan told Stadium Astro. ‘They looked as though they were setting up in a certain way of playing. I thought there was a lot of rotation, which exposed them to the strengths of Brighton, which was to play through the middle.

‘They played through the middle, get it out wide and go again in the final third. They executed their gameplan perfectly. United have some lessons to learn, they need to have a good look at themselves and see where they can improve.

‘In the attacking area, obviously they need to score goals, but in midfield and defence they need to tighten up.

‘There’s a lot of players starting in certain positions, but then they get caught up in the game and open up space for the opposition to play.

‘Teams are working them out and how to expose them. Bring them on, play through them, play beyond them and chances will come.’

Things do not get any more straightforward for Ten Hag as he takes his side to face Bayern Munich in Germany on Tuesday in their Champions League opener.

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