A toothless Manchester United have slipped to a 3-2 loss at the hands of Brighton & Hove Albion in their first away outing of the new season.
Three first-half goals in a Premier League match for the first time in their history had Albion in complete control at the midway stage of another disappointing afternoon for Jose Mourinho.
Romelu Lukaku converted from close range after Glenn Murray and Shane Duffy had put the hosts two goals ahead at the Amex Stadium, only for Pascal Gross to net from the penalty spot to seal what would prove to be a straightforward win.
United did make the scoreline a tad more respectable in the final minute of the match thanks to Paul Pogba’s penalty, but that came after they had mustered just one other shot on target in the second half when chasing a couple of goals.
Prior to Glenn Murray’s opener, Romelu Lukaku – back in the side as one of three United changes – scuffed a shot wide of the near post after giving goalkeeper Mathew Ryan the eyes.
Brighton punished the Red Devils for their failure to get out of first gear, with Murray producing a stylish flick to lift the ball over David de Gea at the end of a Solly March cross.
Murray’s impressive goal was added to two minutes later by Shane Duffy, who was left in enough space to take two touches in front of goal after United failed to clear a corner, the second of which ended with the ball fizzing past De Gea.
United did pull one back through Lukaku’s close-range header after Luke Shaw’s miscued shot bounced nicely into his path, but Brighton restored their two-goal advantage before the break through a Pascal Gross penalty.
A terrible pass from De Gea to Fred left the Brazilian in all sorts of trouble, with Dale Stephens nipping in and feeding the ball through for Gross, who was taken out by Eric Bailly.
Gross stepped up and fired down the middle, getting the better of De Gea despite the Spaniard’s foot touching the ball.
Despite needing a couple of goals to rescue a point, Mourinho’s side simply could not pick out the final pass in a second half devoid of any real action.
Not until the final 15 minutes did United finally step things up slightly, in fact, coming close through a well-hit Paul Pogba shot that Ryan was equal to down low.
Duffy’s challenge on Fellaini in the box five minutes into added time allowed Pogba to strike the ball down the middle from the penalty spot, but it came too late to spark a revival as United slipped to a third successive away league defeat in this fixture.