Bruno Fernandes agrees with 'not fit to wear the shirt' chants after shambolic Manchester United defeat to Brighton

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Bruno Fernandes Manchester United defeat Brighton - ACTION IMAGES
Bruno Fernandes Manchester United defeat Brighton - ACTION IMAGES
  • Moises Caicedo opens the scoring with a long-range effort after 15 minutes

  • Marc Cucurella makes it 2-0 shortly after half time

  • Pascal Gross and Leandro Trossard complete rout as Man Utd slump to their lowest points total in a Premier League season

Manchester United’s directors can only hope their new appointment Erik ten Hag was too busy preparing to manage his current team Ajax as they go for another league title to have watched this performance against Brighton. Because if he had it would be hard to blame him for contacting his lawyer to find a way out of his freshly signed contract. This was a performance of such wretched ineptitude from the side he will inherit, it is hard to know where he might start.

“You’re not fit to wear the shirt,” was the forlorn cry from the visiting supporters as Brighton struck their fourth goal. It clearly struck a chord. “What we did today, what I did today, was not enough to be in a Man Utd shirt,” concurred Bruno Fernandes.

“It was a humiliating defeat,” admitted the interim manager Ralf Rangnick. “It was not only that we lose 4-0 it was the way that we played. Not only poor, extremely poor.”

Unfortunately for the stalwart United following, this was not a one-off. It was the culminating performance of a season Rangnick agreed has been a disaster, one in which United have accumulated their lowest ever Premier League points total and conceded the most goals since 1979.

“I am not looking for excuses or alibis, that was not good enough,” he said. He was right there.

Brighton, on the other hand, were magnificent, thoroughly enjoying their evisceration of a once proud institution. Their manager Graham Potter has been spoken of this week as the most likely replacement should Antonio Conte walk from Tottenham. And you can see why he is a man in demand. While United continue to fail to get a tune out of a bunch of players valued at millions, Potter smartly organises a bunch who collectively cost not much more than the car valet bill at Old Trafford. Such is his expert tuition, there was not one player in the United side who might find a place in his Brighton team.

“A brilliant, brilliant day,” said Potter. “We’ve had to suffer a little bit at home recently. We made up for it today.”

From the off his tactics were clear: chase, harry and smother. After no more than 15 minutes, it was an initiative which bore fruit. A cross came into the visitors’ area which Alex Telles headed directly up into the air. In the scramble that ensued, Pascal Gross fired a shot goalwards which Telles blocked. But the rebound found its way to Moises Caicedo lurking on the edge of the penalty area. The Ecuadorian midfielder who United once pursued, sent a grubber of a shot past David De Gea into the corner of the net. It was his first goal for Brighton and how he enjoyed it.

Moises Caicedo scores Brighton's first goal  - Action Images via Reuters
Moises Caicedo scores Brighton's first goal - Action Images via Reuters

It was no less than his team deserved: they were quicker, sharper than their visitors, constantly winning second balls. Not that it was hard. Caicedo and Yves Bissouma can rarely have faced such limp opposition in the midfield as they encountered here. Everywhere, to the delight of a boisterous home support, Brighton overran United. And, as United’s discomfort grew, how the home fans relished mocking their diminished condition. Especially when Cristiano Ronaldo was involved, cheering him spearing a freekick high with particular gusto.

Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United shows his frustration as his side slump to a 4-0 defeat at Brighton - Manchester United via Getty Images
Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United shows his frustration as his side slump to a 4-0 defeat at Brighton - Manchester United via Getty Images
David De Gea reacts after Marc Cucurella scores Brighton's second goal - Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
David De Gea reacts after Marc Cucurella scores Brighton's second goal - Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

The truth was, as Brighton cut them apart, the offside flag was United’s most effective defensive weapon. Certainly a lot better than Telles or the hapless Diogo Dalot. Rangnick attempted at half time to rectify matters, sending on Fred and Edinson Cavani for Nemanja Matic and Anthony Elanga. As substitutions go, the effect was not immediate. Instead, Brighton carried on where they had left off. From a throw in a cross was not cleared, the ball drifting through to the excellent Leandro Trossard, who took a quick glance up and noting that nobody had followed Marc Cucurella forward, deftly steered the ball into the full-back’s path. He blasted a shot beyond De Gea.

The inevitable third was even more of a carve up. Despite his goal, noone in red seemed to notice Cucurella out on the left. A long ball found him. He cushioned it perfectly on his instep and passed inside to an equally unattended Trossard. His assist found Gross, who simply walked through the United defence, before flicking the ball beyond De Gea. The fourth was plain embarrassing. As Rangnick sat on the bench in silence, apparently anxious to head off to Austria at the earliest opportunity, Danny Welbeck, gifted the freedom of the United area, chipped in a cross which Dalot cleared directly into Trossard. An interminable Var intervention decided the ball had hit him on the chest rather than his hand.

Alexis MacAllister could have had a fifth, but he hit the chance against the post. True, Cavani did put the ball in the net for the visitors. He was, however, a long way offside. This United side are so bad they can’t even conjure a consolation.

Brighton vs Manchester United, as it happened:

06:31 PM

Manchester United's worst Premier League season

06:24 PM

Full time: Brighton 4 Manchester United 0

A total capitulation by Manchester United on what has been a memorable evening for Brighton.

A magnificent performance by Graham Potter's men, and the party will continue through night.

Brighton's manager Graham Potter embraces midfielder Moises Caicedo at full time - AFP
Brighton's manager Graham Potter embraces midfielder Moises Caicedo at full time - AFP

06:20 PM

90+1 mins

Another good hold by Sanchez to deny Dalot this time.

06:18 PM

90 mins

Three minutes of added time to come.

06:18 PM

89 mins

Gross has another go, on the right side, outside the box. De Gea dives onto it and pushes it out for a corner. That needed saving.

06:16 PM

85 mins

Welbeck goes close! He blasts through the middle of the United defence and is outside the box when he lets rip.

He's really got hold of that, but it whistles just wide of de Gea's right-hand post.

06:14 PM

84 mins

Bruno Fernandes fires a killer free kick in from the right. Maguire is on it at the far post, but Sanchez blocks.

The flag has gone up anyway.

06:11 PM

82 mins: Brighton sub

Trossard off; Maupay on.

06:09 PM

79 mins

United free kick in a dangerous position on the left.

It's sizzled in towards the front post, but Sanchez commands his goalmouth and holds the ball confidently.

He's determined to keep his clean sheet.

Brighton's Robert Sanchez catches the ball - AFP
Brighton's Robert Sanchez catches the ball - AFP

06:07 PM

Here's Brighton's fourth

06:06 PM

75 mins: Brighton sub

06:05 PM

75 mins

Sanchez makes a forceful charge out, jumping high, to snuff out a Untied cross. Brilliant goalkeeping.

Dunk's taken a whack to the back of his head from his keeper there, but he looks fine.

Brighton are flying high.

06:03 PM

73 mins

Fernandes with another outside of the box effort. It's on target, and powerful, but it's straight at Sanchez. Pretty routine stuff. Man Utd are trying to salvage some pride here, and they're getting closer.

06:02 PM

72 mins

A great Maguire header from a United corner to force a massive save by Sanchez.

It comes back to Harry and he strikes it towards goal. Cavani touches it into the back of Brighton's net, but he's clearly offside there. The goal won't stand.

06:00 PM

71 mins: Man Utd sub

Maguire comes on for Mata.

05:59 PM

They've shipped a record number of goals this season

05:57 PM

67 mins

Bruno Fernandes connects sweetly, edge of Brighton's box, forcing a strong save by Sanchez.

05:55 PM

66 mins: Brighton sub

Mac Allister off; Webster on.

05:54 PM

64 mins

Brighton almost grab another! But Dalot does just enough at the far post to force the ball onto the post and out for a Brighton corner.

05:51 PM

62 mins

A fine effort by Cavani, off his head... but it's a strong save by Sanchez to deny a United consolation.

05:50 PM

59 mins: GOAL Brighton 4 Manchester United 0

It's a total capitulation.

Welbeck chips the ball in from the right side of United's box after wandering through completely unobstructed. Dalot tries to hook the cross off the United goal line, but Trossard is there to bundle it in.

There is a VAR check ongoing to see if there's a handball...

It's given!

05:47 PM

57 mins: GOAL Brighton 3 Manchester United 0

Gross is the man this time!

Sanchez plays a long ball up to Cucurella on the left, he takes a few steps forward, before cutting it back to Trossard, who then plays in Gross who eases far into the United penalty area and tucks his shot around de Gea.

05:45 PM

55 mins

Mata with a volleyed effort from the edge of Brighton's box... but it's straight at Sanchez.

05:43 PM

It's a terrific finish by Brighton's defender

05:41 PM

52 mins

Mata sends a cross in from the left side of the box. Cucurella gets a solid head on it though to take it away from Cavani.

Brighton counter.

05:39 PM

48 mins GOAL: Brighton 2 Manchester United 0

Cucurella!

He didn't have much of the goal to aim at, but he smashes the ball emphatically into the roof of the goal.

Mac Allister plays Trossard in on left, deep, near to the goal line. He pulls the ball back to an unmarked Cucurella, who curls his shot into the top corner.

The AMEX is rocking.

Marc Cucurella celebrates scoring Brighton's second goal - REUTERS
Marc Cucurella celebrates scoring Brighton's second goal - REUTERS

05:36 PM

47 mins

Yellow card for Dalot for diving in on Mac Allister in a similar position on the left as the previous foul by McTominay.

05:34 PM

46 mins

McTominay drags Cucurella down, conceding a free kick on the left, about 40 yards out.

05:33 PM

Second half begins

Brighton gets us back under way.

05:33 PM

Changes for Man Utd at half time

Cavani and Fred come on; Matic and Elanga are off.

05:27 PM

The 20-year-old Ecuador international bags his first Premier League goal

05:20 PM

Half time: Brighton 1 Manchester United 0

Caicedo's goal is the only one that separates the two sides, but in truth it could have been a lot more.

Brighton are in control and looking confident as we head into the break. It's been another listless performance from Ralf Rangnick's side.

Brighton's Moises Caicedo celebrates after scoring his team's first goal - Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
Brighton's Moises Caicedo celebrates after scoring his team's first goal - Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
David de Gea of Manchester United reacts to conceding Brighton's opener - Manchester United via Getty Images
David de Gea of Manchester United reacts to conceding Brighton's opener - Manchester United via Getty Images

05:17 PM

44 mins

Yellow card for Ronaldo for a wild slide on Cucurella. He got none of the ball. It's a sign of frustration from the Portuguese forward.

05:14 PM

42 mins

A defensive error from Varane allows Welbeck to hit a shot, first time, attempting to chip de Gea.

But it doesn't dip down enough, and it's over de Gea's crossbar.

05:13 PM

40 mins

Brighton free kick on the right, in a very wide position, about 10 yards out. Gross delivers, it comes to Trossard at the far post. Trossard takes his time, picks out Dunk, who connects, but United scrap to clear their lines.

05:11 PM

39 mins

Gross with a deep ground cross, from the dead-ball line towards the D of the box. But no-one is there on the end of it. Cucurella surges through from the left, gets ahead of Elanga and tries to fire another cross in, but it's cleared.

Marc Cucurella in action with Manchester United's Anthony Elanga - REUTERS
Marc Cucurella in action with Manchester United's Anthony Elanga - REUTERS

05:10 PM

37 mins

Bruno Fernandes is clipped, earning a free kick a few yards out from the D. This looks dangerous.

Ronaldo takes, but he gets well under it, and the ball doesn't dip down. It's high over Sanchez' crossbar.

Cristiano Ronaldo shoots over from his free-kick -  PA
Cristiano Ronaldo shoots over from his free-kick - PA

05:08 PM

36 mins

United with a rare attack. They're forced to build patiently as Brighton's off-the-ball movement is slick, closing down red shirts quickly and effectively. No shot at the end of it.

05:06 PM

34 mins

Trossard fires wide after McTominay loses possession, 25 yards out. Brighton keep knocking, hungry for a second.

05:03 PM

31 mins

Brighton have been in control of this contest. More possession and more chances, and they just look confident on the ball, trying all sorts of ways through. They're good value for their 1-0 lead.

05:02 PM

30 mins

Telles shepherds the ball out after a period of Brighton build-up. Brighton corner, Gross to take.

It's sent in and drops to Cucurella on the edge of the United box. He goes for it, but it's deflected out.

05:00 PM

28 mins

A deep free kick is played into Danny Welbeck on the left side of United's box. He hits it first time, on the volley, but it blazes over.

Creative play - and Welbeck is playing with bags of confidence out there.

04:58 PM

26 mins

Elanga is down after a 50/50 with Bissouma. They've both lunged for it and Bissouma catches Elanga immediately after getting a touch of the ball.

04:56 PM

24 mins

Trossard skips inside after a couple of Brighton advantage plays.

Trossard darts inside and gets a shot away, but it's deflected out for a corner. Good determination from Cucurella to win the ball ahead of Elanga in the build-up.

04:52 PM

Brighton's opener

04:51 PM

19 mins

Matic with a strong run down the left channel. He cuts inside and is able to square to Mata, who shoots, but it takes a deflection and goes over de Gea's crossbar for a corner.

04:48 PM

14 mins GOAL Brighton 1 Manchester United 0

Caicedo with an outside-of-the-box effort!

Gross has a first shot, it's blocked, but then it comes to Caicedo, he's 25 yards out and he drives it low into the bottom corner.

There were a lot of players in the way, and it looks like de Gea only sees it late. But all credit to Caicedo. He picked his spot well.

Moises Caicedo celebrates his goal - Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
Moises Caicedo celebrates his goal - Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

04:43 PM

11 mins

Mac Allister is caught by McTominay in a 50/50 situation. The free kick is given, but it's a good way out.

Gross sends it into Dunk on the far left of the pitch, it's chipped in, but United get it away.

04:40 PM

8 mins

Telles chips one into the Brighton box, but it's easily away by he Brighton back four.

United are yet to challenge Sanchez yet. A pretty timid start from the visitors.

04:38 PM

7 mins

Matic has inadvertently smacked Bissouma in the face whilst trying to turn away from his man.

04:37 PM

6 mins

March sends a floated ball into the middle of the United box, but Dalot is there to head away.

04:36 PM

4 mins

Fernandes is nipped by Gross and it's a United free kick, deep in their own half.

04:35 PM

4 mins

Brighton corner - the first of the game. But it's hooked out and Brighton will build again.

04:34 PM

2 mins: Brighton 0 Man Utd 0

Trossard chips one from the right side of the box, towards Welbeck in the middle, but the forward can't get enough purchase on it.

04:31 PM

Kick off!

Manchester United get us under way.

Andrew Madley officiates today.

04:28 PM

The teams are gathering in the tunnel; a reminder of this evening's line-ups

Brighton & Hove Albion: Sanchez, Veltman, Dunk, Cucurella, March, Bissouma, Caicedo, Trossard, Gross, Mac Allister, Welbeck.

Subs: Lamptey, Webster, Maupay, Lallana, Alzate, Steele, Duffy, Offiah, Ferguson.

Manchester United: de Gea, Dalot, Lindelof, Varane, Telles, McTominay, Matic, Elanga, Mata, Fernandes, Ronaldo.

Subs: Jones, Maguire, Lingard, Fred, Cavani, Henderson, Wan-Bissaka, Fernandez, Garnacho.

04:20 PM

Ralf Rangnick speaks with Sky Sports prior to kick off

On Monday's 3-0 win over Brentford:

I think in possession that was probably one of our best games. In total, I think that was really a convincing performance and we need the same kind of performance today.

We need to be compact, very close together. Out of that position, hopefully then having our counter-attack moments.

On Harry Maguire's omission:

As we said, we played well [on Monday], we won the game against Brentford in style and there was no need to change the starting line-up.

04:14 PM

Warming up at the AMEX

Danny Welbeck during the warm up -  Action Images via Reuters
Danny Welbeck during the warm up - Action Images via Reuters
Bruno Fernandes - PA
Bruno Fernandes - PA
Joel Veltman - Action Images via Reuters
Joel Veltman - Action Images via Reuters

04:11 PM

CR7 leads the line today

Cristiano Ronaldo - REUTERS
Cristiano Ronaldo - REUTERS

04:06 PM

Some zany headwear on show from this Brighton fan

A Brighton fan wears a seagull headpiece - REUTERS
A Brighton fan wears a seagull headpiece - REUTERS

03:53 PM

ICYMI: Our chief football correspondent Jason Burt

Broke some big Manchester United news yesterday - incoming boss Erik ten Hag wants Cristiano Ronaldo to stay at the club next season.

03:40 PM

Man Utd name an unchanged team

Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick sticks with an unchanged starting XI for the visit to Brighton.

Captain Harry Maguire and fellow defender Aaron Wan-Bissaka returned to United's bench after two-game absences, replacing the unavailable pair of Eric Bailly (back) and Marcus Rashford (illness).

Jesse Lingard was again among the substitutes following the fallout of him being denied an Old Trafford farewell during Monday's 3-0 win over Brentford.

Midfielder Pascal Gross has come in for the injured Enock Mwepu in the only alteration to Brighton's XI.

03:33 PM

Here's the Manchester United team

03:32 PM

Brighton team news

12:36 PM

Good afternoon

Hello and welcome to Telegraph Sport's live coverage of Manchester United's second-to-last game of the season, a visit to Brighton, as hopes of Champions League qualification are all but over.

United interim manager Ralf Rangnick said that his request for a striker at the end of the January transfer window was turned down by the club despite the Old Trafford side losing Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood during that period.

Martial joined Sevilla on loan while Greenwood was suspended by United over rape and assault allegations.

Rangnick said that Porto's Luis Diaz, Julian Alvarez of River Plate and Fiorentina's Dusan Vlahovic were on his wishlist but the German was told that "there was no player on the market that could really help us".

"We had four days off at the time and on the Sunday I was informed about the issues with Mason Greenwood and obviously Anthony Martial had already left," Rangnick said.

"I was aware that within four days we had some strikers missing and it might make sense, we were still in three competitions - Champions League, FA Cup and fourth in the league. I spoke to the board... but in the end the answer was no."

Diaz has since joined Liverpool and flourished while Vlahovic has moved to Juventus and Alvarez will play for champions Manchester City next season.

"I still believe that we should have at least tried, if we would've found and been able in 48 hours, 48 hours is short notice but it's still 48 hours, it might have been worth to try and internally discuss but we didn't," added Rangnick.

United have been reliant on Cristiano Ronaldo for goals - 24 in all competitions - this season, with Edinson Cavani's game time limited due to injury and Marcus Rashford struggling for form.

United, who will welcome Erik ten Hag as their permanent manager in the summer, are currently sixth in the league, five points off the last Champions League spot with two games to play.

Reuters

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