Manchester United’s 2-0 Brighton & Hove Albion: 5 major talking points from the game

Manchester United v Brighton & Hove Albion - The Emirates FA Cup Quarter Final
United progress to the semi-finals of the FA C
Emmanuel Ayamga

Manchester United have qualified to the semi-finals of the FA Cup following a 2-0 win over Brighton & Hove Albion. The Red Devils started in bright fashion and dominated the game throughout the 90 minutes.

Two headed goals from Romelu Lukaku and Nemanja Matic either side of half-time gave Jose Mourinho's men the needed boost as they returned to winning ways following Tuesday's loss to Sevilla in the Champions League.

The Red Devils were not all that convincing but at this point, a win is all that matters and they achieved that with a lot of distinction.

Now, Mourinho and his men are just two games away from laying their hands on what will be Manchester United's 13th FA Cup title after Saturday's quarter-final win over the Seagulls,

Here are five talking points from the game:

#5 Mourinho heeds fans plea to play attacking football

Manchester United v Brighton & Hove Albion - The Emirates FA Cup Quarter Final
Mourinho has been under huge pressure this season

Mourinho’s reign as Manchester United manager has often been met with pessimism from a section of the fans due to his pragmatic style of play.

However, on Saturday when the Portuguese sent his side out against Brighton & Hove Albion, he set them out to attack.

The former Chelsea boss went in for an attacking quartet of Anthony Martial, Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard and Romelu Lukaku.

And from the blast of the whistle, the intention was clear: show the fans that United can play attacking football.

Following Tuesday’s disappointing Champions League exit at the hands of Sevilla the Red Devils needed an instant reaction and although this was not a vintage performance, it was refreshing to see the side try to play attacking football.

Mourinho may have been forced by the pressure from fans to set up his side this way, but the Old Trafford crowd loved it and will definitely hope it continues in subsequent games.

#4 Man United did not miss Pogba and Alexis Sanchez

Pogba and Sanchez were not missed

The big news prior to the FA Cup quarter-final game between Manchester United and Brighton was the dropping on Paul Pogba and Alexis Sanchez to the bench.

Mourinho’s decision to drop the big-profile pair may have raised a few eyebrows, but it turned out to be a good decision.

Both Sanchez and Pogba have been awful in recent weeks and they were not missed at all as the Red Devils sealed qualification to the last four of the FA Cup.

The midfield pair of Scott McTominay and Matic were brilliant on the night, as they controlled the game throughout the 90 minutes.

Also, Martial had a good game on his favoured left wing position, combining very well with Juan Mata to cause problems to the Brighton defence.

The Frenchman has been in and out of the team since the arrival of Sanchez but he proved tonight that he is still a valuable asset who – on current form – deserves to be playing ahead of the Chilean.

Pogba and Sanchez are undoubtedly United’s two biggest players, but the pair’s inconsistency this season has led to calls for them to be dropped.

And if their bench role against Brighton was anything to go by, then they will not be missed at all anytime they are both out of the starting XI.

#3 Mourinho still doesn’t trust Shaw

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Shaw was replaced after just 45 minutes

Manchester United may have won against Brighton but the substitution of Luke Shaw at half-time was something many of the club’s fans were unhappy about.

The left-back was afforded just 45 minutes in the FA Cup tie as he was replaced by Ashely Young, who Mourinho has trusted for the position this season.

The Portuguese has been effusive in his praise for the former Southampton youngster this season, but it is increasingly looking like he does not trust the English defender.

Shaw had a decent 45 minutes and in truth, the left-back needs more playing time to improve. However, his substitution only goes to affirm the fact that his days at Old Trafford are numbered.

Mourinho’s constant use of Young at the left-back position clearly shows that he does not trust Shaw and if the 23-year-old cannot get 90 minutes against Brighton then it remains to be seen what chances the former Inter Milan boss would afford him with just two months left to the end of the season.

#2 Romero proves an able deputy to De Gea

Romero was in impressive form against Brighton

For much of the last three seasons, Manchester United fans have dreaded the idea of David De Gea departing Old Trafford.

However, the performance of Sergio Romero should offer some form of hope even if the Spaniard was to leave.

Romero has been denied game time due to the impressive form of De Gea but the Argentine has always delivered when handed the nod.

The former Sampdoria goalkeeper was instrumental as the Red Devils won the Europa League and the Carabao Cup last season, missing just a single game as United won the former.

Against Brighton, the 31-year-old made three brilliant saves when the game was still at 1-0 to keep the Red Devils in the game.

With such performances, Romero has proven to be a capable deputy to De Gea and the United fans can be assured that they are in safe hands when the Argentine is in the post.

#1 Brighton show huge promise

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impressive against Man United

Brighton have been booted out of the FA Cup but they will exit the tournament with their heads held up high.

Chris Hughton’s side played with a lot of energy and often gave Man United a run for their money despite playing away from home.

The Seagulls lie in 12th-position in the Premier League table but are not far off the relegation places.

However, with promising performances like this, they are sure to avoid the drop. Mourinho set up his side to attack from the onset, but Brighton held their own and were unlucky not to have gotten on the scoresheet.

The Seagulls created numerous chances of their own and could have snatched the equaliser in the first half had it not been for the form of Romero in post for the Red Devils.

It was a promising performance for the away side and they have every right to feel proud of it despite losing.

Edited by Alan John


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