Erik ten Hag admits he is aware of Man Utd's fragile confidence

Brighton claimed their first-ever victory over Ten Hag’s side at Old Trafford.

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has believed he recognised that his side were capable of falling to Brighton on the opening day of their Premier League season. He admitted he knows improvement ‘will not come overnight’.

The Manchester club were thrashed 4-0 by the Seagulls in their penultimate fixture last season at the back end of Ralf Rangnick’s tenure. But after an impressive strong pre-season, United went into the new campaign full of optimism.

The hosts pulled one back after Brighton goalkeeper Robert Sanchez blocked Alexis Mac Allister’s clearance, but the visitors held on to win 2-1 and claim their first-ever victory at Old Trafford.

“It is a hell of a job [before us]. We have to work really hard, analyse and then move forward. Today was a good start and then after that we dropped down a level in belief and we made mistakes that the opponent punished. But it was a good opponent, we [tried to] work well together but when you make mistakes you get punished for that,” he said.

“I knew it [the drop in confidence] could happen but I think we should have done better – that is clear.

“But I know also it [improvement] will not come overnight. At times we played better in pre-season. Today we had a really bad period in the first half and we have to learn from that.”

When asked if he could sense the squad’s fragile confidence, Ten Hag replied: “I think so. That is also normal. I didn’t expect that we are already a team that has had a lot [of time together].

“And I think that was the difference with our opponent: they have been a long time together with a certain plan and coach and we have not. But still it was unnecessary to lose this game.”

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