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Manchester United defeat has given Erik ten Hag uncomfortable questions to address

Champions League football, a trophy and restoring a connection between fans and players represented a successful first season at Manchester United for Erik ten Hag, especially after inheriting such a broken dressing room and failing culture.

He became the most universally liked manager at the club since Sir Alex Ferguson and although there were a few chastening defeats along the way, the team bounced back on each occasion to move in the right direction again.

Ten Hag has credit in the bank with supporters and that's been needed in the aftermath of Saturday's defeat against Brighton, in which he was tactically outdone comprehensively by Roberto De Zerbi on the touchline.

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Brighton's starting line-up at Old Trafford cost less than £20million and they don't have better man-for-man talent than United, but they are one of the best-coached teams in the world, never mind just in the Premier League.

United were the better side in the opening 15 minutes and they couldn't find a goal to reflect their dominance. That's bound to be punished against capable opposition and Danny Welbeck's goal knocked the stuffing out of those in red shirts.

They were no longer on the front foot, a term that Ten Hag regularly uses when describing how he wants his team to play and Brighton showed why Pep Guardiola said 'they are the best team in the world' in the build-up.

Brighton are an excellent team and they effortlessly kept the ball for large portions of the match after figuring out how to overcome the diamond shape implemented by Ten Hag in midfield.

Speaking after the 3-1 defeat, Ten Hag said the new system had worked at the