Brighton & Hove Albion 0-3 Manchester United: Premier League – as it happened

Simon Burnton on 30 June 2020

Fernandes is aiming for fourth ...

That’s all from me. Here’s the match report again. Bye!

Graham Potter is not so chuffed:

I think we played against a really good side tonight, to be honest. Congratulations to Manchester United they were the better team, I thought they showed some real quality. Credit to the team, we stuck at it, I thought our response second half especially was really good. I’m really proud of the response of the players, how they stuck at it, and we’ll take the positives from the game. We started the second half really well and then got hit on the counter-attack for the killer goal.

Overall we had some good opportunities, some good play, against Manchester United you’re always going to be stretched. It’s a tough evening for us but one we’ll take a lot from and we’ll be stronger for it. They’re as good as anybody we’ve played against this year from our perspective. They’ve got good width, good movement in the middle, the build-up was good. So hard to contain, but we didn’t go under, we carried on, and second half especially was positive for us.

We know where we’re at, we know the fight that we’ve got. It doesn’t change anything from our perspective. We go to Norwich, ready to fight.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is full of smiles:

I think we’re full of confidence and of course full of quality as well. I think the boys played some exceptional stuff. We pressed well, and I think we started really well. It was just waiting for the moment to get a goal and Mason’s first was brilliant. He played fantastically. he’s a young kid and a special kid. We know when he gets face up and looking forward he’s dangerous, but then I thought his hold-up play and his link-up play today was great. He can go inside, he can go outside, he’s just as good with his right foot as his left foot, and he’s developing into a fine player.

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Bruno Fernandes, man of the match and one-man revolution, talks down the impact of his relationship with Paul Pogba in midfield. “It’s not fair to talk about me and Paul. We are a team,” he says. “We train together. They push me to play better. I think in the end it’s teamwork.”

David Hytner’s match report has landed:

With Bruno Fernandes providing an irresistible spark, the sense of possibility felt tantalising for Manchester United. Brighton are not a team that have been rolled over too many times this season, despite their lowly position, but the ease and panache with which United recorded their latest positive result represented a statement of intent.

Ole Gunnar Solskjær had said on Monday that his team could go undefeated for the remainder of the season. Play like this and they will. The run-in is relatively kind for them and this was a 15th game in all competitions without a loss – the best sequence under Solskjær.

The victory was ignited by Mason Greenwood’s 13th goal of a stellar season but, really, it was all about Fernandes. He was playing only his 13th game for the club and yet it feels as though he has been here for a professional lifetime.

Much more here:

Final score: Brighton 0-3 Manchester United

90+4 mins: An extremely competent away performance, and an emphatically outclassed home side.

Manchester United’s Nemanja Matic embraces Victor Lindelof at the final whistle.
Manchester United’s Nemanja Matic embraces Victor Lindelof at the final whistle. Photograph: Andy Rain/NMC Pool/PA

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90+3 mins: Ighalo has only touched the ball three times. Martial only had 23 touches, half as many as any other outfield starter. Sure, Martial’s runs helped create space for his teammates, but United’s centre-forwards have been almost entirely peripheral.

90+1 mins: There’ll be three minutes of stoppage time, give or take.

89 mins: Gary Neville follows through on his promise to name Bruno Fernandes his man of the match. The game has been markedly less fun since he left the field.

87 mins: Solly March replaces Connolly, Brighton’s final change of the evening.

86 mins: James threatens to get clear, doesn’t quite manage to do so, has a shot anyway and Ryan saves. Then about 45 seconds later he gets the ball on the left, comes infield, doesn’t have much on, has a shot anyway and Ryan saves.

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84 mins: Save! James crosses towards Ighalo; Bernardo gets in the way but only turns the ball towards McTominay, and his low shot takes a slight deflection on its way goalwards, but Ryan deals with it.

81 mins: Further substitutional news, as Brighton bring on Mooy and Bernardo, and take off Dunk and Mac Allister.

80 mins: Wan-Bissaka hits a cross straight into a fragile part of Bissouma, who spends a minute or two writhing about in agony and then has to get up and defend a corner.

78 mins: United bring on Ighalo and James, and take off Rashford and Martial.

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76 mins: Another De Gea save! Maupay tries to play in Trossard but Maguire gets in the way. The ball rebounds back to him, and his shot takes a deflection, but De Gea has enough time to react and push it away.

74 mins: The game appears to have entered the period when one team no longer believes they can achieve anything and the other no longer believes they need to.

71 mins: Trossard has another pop, this time from 20-odd yards, but the ball spins wide of the left-hand post. He has had as many shots as every other Brighton player put together, and he only came on at half-time.

69 mins: Brighton have a shot on target! It’s a really good one too, Connolly taking Trossard’s pass, enjoying a bit too much space, and curling a shot towards the top corner. De Gea throws out a hand and turns it behind.

67 mins: The game’s second drinks break, and TV viewers get treated to a few more replays of United’s third goal, their best of the night, and really lovely in every way.

66 mins: Chance! Wan-Bissaka gets to the byline and dinks in a cross, and Williams heads it powerfully, but straight into Duffy.

64 mins: United take Bruno Fernandes off, to be wrapped in proverbial cotton wool. “Unless something miraculous happens in this last half an hour he will be the man of the match,” says Gary Neville. Paul Pogba and Luke Shaw also come off, with McTominay, Pereira and Williams coming on.

62 mins: Now Mac Allister lifts the ball into the area from the right, and Trossard slams a volley high. They have had as many shots in the last 150 seconds as in the preceding hour.

60 mins: Brighton nearly score! Well, they nearly have a shot on target, at least. Mac Allister takes a free-kick from deep, and disguises his pass to Trossard, who with every red shirt convinced the ball is going to he lofted into the middle of the box suddenly has the entire left third of the penalty area to himself and the ball at his feet. He shoots low and hard across goal, but wide of the far post.

57 mins: Duffy nips in front of Martial to take the ball off his toes, and the Frenchman’s head goes back in a display of frustration. His movement has been good tonight, but he hasn’t actually seen very much of the ball.

54 mins: Burn’s excellent low cross from the left just evades Connolly. Brighton still haven’t had a shot on target, and Ryan still hasn’t made a save.

50 mins: Maguire heads the ball out from his area to Matic, who chests down and volleys a pass to Greenwood, bursting down the left. He sprints to the edge of the area, Rashford and Martial make runs in the middle to occupy the defence, and Greenwood lifts the ball beyond them to the unmarked Fernandes, who volleys in. That was clinical, and excellent at every stage: header, control, pass, run, cross, finish.

GOAL! Brighton 0-3 Manchester United (Fernandes, 50 mins)

That’s a lovely break, and it’s game over!

Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes volleys in the third.
Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes volleys in the third. Photograph: Alastair Grant/Reuters

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48 mins: Brighton already seem to have significantly improved in their new-look 4-2-2-2 formation. Shaw brings down Bissouma, and gets booked.

46 mins: Peeeeep! They’re off! I have a couple of half-time substitutions to report: Brighton have brought off Tariq Lamptey and Davy Propper and brought on Leandro Trossard and Neal Maupay.

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This game has been slightly tediously one-sided. This, though, is the kind of tedium that Manchester United fans have been desperate for for several years now. They look a team capable not just of qualifying for Europe but achieving something once they get there. Brighton have Liverpool and Manchester City still to come to the AmEx over the next couple of weeks, and could probably do with banking three points at Norwich this weekend before their confidence gets too badly nobbled.

Half time: Brighton 0-2 Manchester United

45+3 mins: Manchester United go into the interval with the double advantage of two goals and complete superiority.

45+2 mins: United ping the ball about on the left for an age, and eventually Montoya’s had enough and throws himself at Rashford. Free kick.

45+1 mins: There will be about two minutes of first-half stoppages.

44 mins: Brighton actually threaten! Propper’s cross from the right is pretty handy, and there are six home players in the penalty area, but the ball just evades them all, with Burn coming closest.

44 mins: United get numbers forward, Brighton get numbers back, and a very promising attack ends with Dunk intercepting Pogba’s underhit pass infield.

42 mins: A telling stat here from Tim de Lisle:

41 mins: There have only been two shots on target in this game.

39 mins: Dunk has the ball inside his own penalty area and Martial and Fernandes combine to gang up on him, eventually forcing him to hit out of play for a throw-in. Nothing comes of it but still, good work.

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37 mins: United play the ball across their backline almost comically slowly, waiting on each occasion to be closed down before laying it off. Eventually it reaches Bruno Fernandes on the left, who smashes it high into the air. Given what came before, it seems almost an act of protest. Dunk wins the header.

33 mins: Brighton have an attack, and win a free-kick out on the right touchline. United eventually win it back, and play the ball out of defence in a manner which is can only be described as extremely competent.

32 mins: Brighton have a shot! Mac Allister is the man responsible, blasting the ball into Maguire’s ankles from inside United’s penalty area.

GOAL! Brighton 0-2 Manchester United (Fernandes, 29 mins)

Another one! Rashford plays Shaw in on the left, who gets to the byline but can’t pick out Martial with his pull-back. It runs to Pogba outside the penalty area, who touches inside to Fernandes, whose first-time shot hits Mac Allister and spins past Ryan and inside the post!

Bruno Fernandes’ deflected shot puts United two up.
Bruno Fernandes’ deflected shot puts United two up. Photograph: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

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28 mins: Lindelof goes on an endearingly optimistic run down the right, which ends after about 40 yards as he tries to trick his way into the penalty area without actually doing any tricks, and is consequently dispossessed.

26 mins: Play resumes, and United take control of the ball once more. Eventually Wan-Bissaka miscontrols and it rolls out for a throw-in.

23 mins: United win a corner, take it long to Maguire beyond the far post, and he beats Dunk to the header but sends it across goal and wide. The drinks break follows.

22 mins: Fernandes shoots, and gets the ball to dip savagely, but it never threatens to dip enough to get under the bar.

21 mins: Now they have a free-kick in a very handy position, as Pogba is fouled just outside the area.

20 mins: This is all looking excellent for the visitors. They are attacking at pace, in numbers, with width on both flanks, and Brighton can’t plug every gap.

GOAL! Brighton 0-1 Manchester United (Greenwood, 17 mins)

The chance comes, the shot follows, and United lead! Greenwood pretty much makes it for himself, running infield from the right, leaving Stephens in his wake, bursting into the box, squaring up Dunk, jinking this way and that, and then shooting low and hard inside the near post!

Manchester United’s Mason Greenwood shoots low to open the scoring.
Manchester United’s Mason Greenwood shoots low to open the scoring. Photograph: Mike Hewitt/Reuters

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15 mins: United are running at about 74% possession, and looking menacing with it, but so far no clear chances, or shots of any note from inside the area.

12 mins: Bruno Fernandes hits the post! Maguire’s long ball from left to right starts the move, Pogba’s pass infield finds the Portuguese, and his early, low shot from just outside the area thumps the near post.

11 mins: A few seconds later Mac Allister tries it again, and this time Connolly is on the move, but he uses an arm to control and that’s the end of that.

11 mins: Mac Allister picks the ball up in midfield and plays it through for Connolly, who hadn’t got the memo and was entirely flat-footed.

8 mins: United are hogging the ball, but not doing so much attacking. Bruno Fernandes nearly unlocked the home defence a couple of minutes back, but his Ryan ran out to booter his through-ball into touch as Rashford raced towards it.

5 mins: A breather for Brighton, as Maguire chests a long pass towards Lindelof, and Connolly nips in and goes down, winning a bonus cheap free kick.

3 mins: United have already put together two decent attacks down the left, but on both occasions the attack was snuffled out after they got into the box.

2 mins: Kick-off is preceded by a noisy countdown, on the stadium’s big screens and loud speakers. 10 ... 9 ... 8 ... 7 ... it goes. 6 ... 5 ... 4 ... 3 ... it continues. 2 ... 1, it concludes. And then, 10 further seconds of awkward silence while the referee completes his last-minute whatevers, noisy countdown completely ignored. The players take the knee for a few seconds after kick-off.

1 min: Peeeeeep! United get the game started.

The players are out, and the coin has just been tossed. Action imminent.

Manchester United’s Paul Pogba takes a knee and raises his fist in support of Black Lives Matter.
Manchester United’s Paul Pogba takes a knee and raises his fist in support of Black Lives Matter. Photograph: Getty Images/2020 Pool

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The players are making their way into the tunnel, with kick-off just a few minutes away.

“While I’m cheered that the fans are practising some social distancing by sitting one seat apart, I’m appalled they’re not wearing masks,” complains Eric Schwab of Brighton’s Thank You NHS Stand (photo below). “This seems like a very narrow, two-dimensional approach.”

Graham Potter submits himself to the Sky-flavoured inquisition:

I think we’ve had a positive couple of games, but we have to start again. We play against a really good side, a side in good form, so all that we’ve done is gone and we have to start again tonight and do our best. It’s a chance to win three points, that’s how we look at it. They’re a good team, and they’re fighting for the Champions League, but ti’s a chance to win three points and that’s what we have to focus on. I’ve reminded them that they’re good players, they need to work hard to get a result. History’s fine but it doesn’t count for anything tonight. We need a bit of luck against this quality of opposition, but we need to make sure we do our best.

He says the decision to play Aaron Connolly instead of Neal Maupay is “purely tactical”, because he hopes the Irishman’s pace could come in handy. “I think Neal can help us off the bench. We’ve got a big squad, everybody’s ready to help and we’ll need that going forward.”

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has a chat with Sky:

This is the same team as played less than a week ago against Sheffield United and played really well, so hopefully we can see that again. Everything has to be right. We’ve been here the last two years, we haven’t got any points. We know it’s going to be hard, we know we have to focus on one game at a time.

Brighton make three changes to the team that drew 0-0 at Leicester last Tuesday, bringing in Shane Duffy, Davy Propper and Martin Montoya. Manchester United make either no changes or eight of them, depending on whether you count the FA Cup game against Norwich or the last league game, against Sheffield United last Wednesday.

Cut-outs of fans in the stands before the match.
Cut-outs of fans in the stands before the match. Photograph: Andy Rain/Reuters

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The teams!

The team sheets are in, and these are the names upon them:

Brighton: Ryan, Duffy, Dunk, Burn, Lamptey, Propper, Stephens, Bissouma, Montoya, Mac Allister, Connolly. Subs: Maupay, Trossard, Gross, Murray, Mooy, March, Schelotto, Button, Bernardo.
Man Utd: De Gea, Wan Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, Pogba, Matic, Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes, Rashford, Martial. Subs: Bailly, Mata, Andreas Pereira, Fred, James, Romero, Ighalo, McTominay, Williams.
Referee: Andre Marriner.

Hello world!

Before the restart I thought Brighton, winless in 2020 and with a pretty nasty fixture list, might end up in a hideous battle against relegation. Two games, two decent performances and four points later and given the miserable form of Bournemouth, West Ham, Aston Villa and Watford below them I make them a win away from safety. They are more likely to get that victory at Norwich on Saturday than against Manchester United tonight, with the visitors another side that has had a decent restart and motivated by the vicious scrap for European qualification in which they find themselves, but I wouldn’t put it past them. They are, after all, unbeaten at home against Manchester United since April 1982 (with four wins and a draw since then).

In memory of which, here’s the track that was No3 in that week’s hit parade and indeed also the next, when it held off This Time (We’ll Get it Right) by the England World Cup squad - to my mind perhaps the great classic squad-actually-singing, no-fancy-pants-pop-stars football record - which rose to No4.

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