After an encouraging win against Brentford on Monday night, Manchester United were back to their old ways against Brighton.
Here are five things we learned from Brighton v Manchester United, another humbling game and a 4-0 defeat…
Unchanged team, very different result
As mentioned above, United produced one of their best performances of the Ralf Rangnick reign on Monday night so the German kept with the same team.
But there were absolutely no signs of United building on the smidgen of momentum generated by that win from the very start here.
United were abject throughout and never got to grips with Brighton at any stage, with a performance which plunged the depths as bad as anything under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer or Rangnick so far this term.
Former United target scores against Red Devils
United had a deal locked in to sign Moises Caicedo around a year ago but then they pulled out because a deal was ‘too complex’ before Brighton swooped in.
He netted his first Premier League goal here, opening the scoring by firing in from outside the box.
Caicedo is apparently a United fan and would not have broken the bank but the decision to walk away does not look a smart one after an afternoon where he showed more quality and energy than any of United’s midfielders.
Rangnick’s changes have no impact
United were 1-0 down at half-time when Rangnick made two changes, bringing on Edinson Cavani and Fred for Anthony Elanga and Nemanja Matic.
Within four minutes, it was 2-0 as United were then cut open at will having come out even worse after the interval.
There was clearly nothing in the half-time team talk to inspire even so much as a bit of pride in the second half and the tactical alterations had no impact.
Rangnick’s next change was to go to a five man defence, bringing on Harry Maguire for his injury comeback in place of Juan Mata, a sign of an attempt at damage limitation, and little else.
Unwanted record broken
United have now conceded more goals than they ever have in a Premier League season, with one game remaining against Crystal Palace.
The previous record of 54 also came in a season where United sacked their manager mid-season and went for an interim.
Perhaps there is a lesson in that. This season has been allowed to drift and spiral into a full-blown crisis, making the job Erik ten Hag has on his hands look harder by the day.
Another nightmare in a dreadful season
United have been ripped apart by Liverpool and Manchester City home and away this season.
That hurts but they are among the best teams in Europe, which acts as a small degree of mitigation.
Brighton are a tidy team – notably with a clear, attractive philosophy, which United lack – but they have struggled at home this season for both goals and wins.
They absolutely ripped United apart here and actually took pity on them past the hour mark, when they could have pushed on and scored six or seven.
It is a horrible place to be when you are wishing the season away but that is where United fans are right now, and this was another horrendous match to add to the many, many more from this season.