Manchester United are left to reflect on a frustrating defeat away at Brighton and Hove Albion.

Before kick-off we hoped to soon be toasting a Manchester United victory over Brighton. A strong first half performance indicated we were on track.

Late in the game we would have been pretty happy to get out of there with a draw, especially as Brighton mounted the pressure in injury time.

Then at the death, disaster struck. A Luke Shaw handball was spotted by VAR. Penalty. 1-0 defeat.

Lessons learned, sure. There is reason to feel pretty down about the loss. We should also try and be a little upbeat too. It’s not all doom and gloom.

Here is a look at the positives and negatives to take from the night on the south coast…

Brighton & Hove Albion v Manchester United - Premier League
Photo by Robin Jones/Getty Images

3 Positives

Creating chances: Manchester United should have been out of sight by half-time. We were on top, just too wasteful in front of goal. Add a real top class striker into this team and United win this game comfortably. It’s the story of our season, and a problem which hopefully won’t exist in 2023/24. United matched Brighton with five shots on target each – before their penalty.

Strong defensive display: Let’s put this defensive performance in context, with Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane out injured, United had been largely good defensively. There were a couple of shaky moments but you get that away from home. Diogo Dalot was decent as a fill-in left-back and Aaron Wan-Bissaka held his own against Mitoma. Luke Shaw looked in control before his late handball.

Still in control: Manchester United’s fate is in Manchester United’s hands. Forget Liverpool creeping up. We have a five point advantage plus a game in hand. Three wins from the remaining five games will seal a Champions League spot. If we can get a win away at West Ham at the weekend, then three of the last four will be at home.

3 Negatives

Not taking chances: It’s all well and good creating chances, you have to be able to take them. It’s been the story of United’s season. Anthony Martial is offering nothing up front. Wout Weghorst offers even less. Marcus Rashford also lacked the clinical edge he had earlier in the season.

Looking tired: The long season appears to be catching up with United, it’s been evident for weeks. Even with leads, we at times are struggling to close out games. We started this game well and fell away. It was the same against Tottenham and Aston Villa last week. It also cost against Sevilla at home. This is a worry heading into the final few weeks.

Away record: Manchester United’s away record against the top eight Premier League teams this season is ‘Played 8, Won 0, Drawn 1, Lost 7’. It’s nowhere near good enough and is a serious problem for Erik ten Hag to fix next season.

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