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Opinion: Manchester United need a convincing win against Brighton to restore confidence

Man United will play Brighton in Saturday
Man United will play Brighton in Saturday's early kick-off
ANALYST
Modified 26 Sep 2020, 05:59 IST
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When Manchester United travel to Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday, nothing but a win will be expected from the Red Devils' faithful.

Yet, a result is not guaranteed. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side currently lack confidence and are striking very little fear in their opponents. For a side that used to dominate and batter opponents into submission, this is atypical of Manchester United.

However, in the last seven years at Old Trafford, they have taken a step forward and then two steps back. Having won many hearts after the coronavirus-enforced break last season, Solskjaer’s side now looks to be back to square one.

The Red Devils put up a def;rating performance in last week
The Red Devils put up a def;rating performance in last week's loss to Crystal Palace

The opening day loss to Crystal Palace typified everything that is wrong with this Manchester United team. Just when everyone expected them to kick on, they flattered to deceive.

However, anything short of victory against Brighton on Saturday will set the club on a crisis path. They are already low in confidence and only a win can restore belief in the players.

Solskjaer needs a win as badly as the players do. Manchester United may not be title contenders, but they are expected to kick on from last season’s impressive third-place finish. That's with or without any marquee signings.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is under pressure to get the best out of his players
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is under pressure to get the best out of his players

But if last week’s performance against Crystal Palace is anything to go by, Manchester United may not even qualify for the Champions League come the end of the season.

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That’s because all their rivals look to have improved. Arsenal are playing some fantastic football under Mikel Arteta, having won all three games they’ve played thus far this season.

Chelsea may have lost against Liverpool last weekend, but the Blues showed how free-scoring they can be against lesser opposition with a commanding 6-0 win over Barnsley in the Carabao Cup that followed.

Meanwhile, Liverpool and Manchester City are still the Premier League hot dogs and continue to show a gulf in class above the other clubs.

Manchester United have the chance to kick-start their Premier League campaign properly now, after that false dawn against Palace last week.

Another loss... and the club’s season could unravel before it even started. However, an emphatic win would definitely restore confidence ahead of tougher fixtures in the coming weeks.

Published 26 Sep 2020, 05:59 IST
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