Ashley Young gets lucky break as Manchester United beat Brighton

Ashley Young’s deflected strike proved the slice of luck Manchester United needed for Jose Mourinho’s side to narrowly sneak past promoted Brighton.

Given swashbuckling Manchester City headed into the weekend with an eight-point cushion at the top of the Premier League, the second-place Reds could ill-afford to drop points at home to Chris Hughton’s men.

Well-drilled Albion threatened to cause an upset as they impressed on their first trip to Old Trafford since 1993, only for Young’s 66th-minute shot to loop in via a cruel deflection off Lewis Dunk as United eked out a 1-0 win.

ManBri

What they said

Man Utd boss Jose Mourinho: “It was a battle because Brighton were very good. I think they were good from minute one until the last minute. Good approach, defensively very well organised. I keep saying to defend well is very important. I think they played really well and we didn’t play well. Our creation was poor.”Brighton boss Chris Hughton: “It was a fortuitous goal. But I thought even after that, we tried to get back in the game. It wasn’t to be in the end. It’s always very nice to hear that from the opposition manager but I am still incredibly disappointed because I felt we deserved to get more from the day.”

Tweet of the match

Star man – Anthony Knockaert

Anthony Knockaert
(Dave Thompson/Empics)

He finished on the losing side but Knockaert was the most lively-looking attacker on the field over the course of the contest. Brighton put in a hugely commendable display in general and really deserved to take something from the match.

Moment of the match

It was perhaps hardly surprising given the way the game had been going that when United finally made a breakthrough, luck played a major role. There were questions over the corner that led to the goal, with replays suggesting Romelu Lukaku may have got the last touch of the ball, and when it was then delivered and the ball dropped to Young, it was a considerable deflection his shot took off Dunk en route to the net.

Data point

This result extended United’s 100 per cent record at home this season to a 10th game in all competitions. The Red Devils are also now unbeaten in their last 39 matches at Old Trafford.

Player ratings

Manchester United: David de Gea 6 (out of 10), Antonio Valencia 5, Victor Lindelof 6, Chris Smalling 6, Ashley Young 6, Nemanja Matic 5, Paul Pogba 6, Marcus Rashford 5, Juan Mata 5, Anthony Martial 5, Romelu Lukaku 5. Subs: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (for Mata, 62 mins) 6, Henrikh Mkhitaryan (for Martial, 71) 5, Marouane Fellaini (for Rashford, 79) 5.Brighton: Mathew Ryan 7, Bruno 7, Lewis Dunk 6, Shane Duffy 7, Gaetan Bong 6, Anthony Knockaert 7, Dale Stephens 6, Davy Propper 6, Solly March 7, Pascal Gross 7, Glenn Murray 6. Subs: Tomer Hemed (for Murray, 75) 5, Jose Izquierdo (for March, 75) 5, Izzy Brown (for Gross, 88) 6.

Who’s up next?

Watford v Manchester United (Premier League, November 28)

Brighton v Crystal Palace (Premier League, November 28)

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