The important lessons Man Utd can take forward from Brighton win

Manchester United manager Marc Skinner said it is ‘credit’ to his team that Brighton set up with defensive tactics at Leigh Sports Village on Sunday because opponents are increasingly aware of how dangerous the Red Devils are going forward.

The Seagulls lined up in a solid 4-5-1 system without the ball and sought to squeeze the space in midfield to prevent the likes of Ella Toone, Jackie Groenen and Katie Zelem picking passes between the lines. Their own attacking was largely limited to counters and breakaways.

It worked pretty well for them in the first half. Space became a little more available after the break as substitutions altered the game and players grew more tired, but it was still only a single goal from United’s Leah Galton – avoidable from a Brighton perspective as the ball slipped agonisingly through the grasp of goalkeeper Katie Startup – that decided the contest in the end.

Skinner’s team could have scored more on another day. Martha Thomas had a penalty appeal waved away in the first half, before the same player also glanced a second half shot off the post and saw an effort hacked off the goal-line following another Startup fumble.

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