Erik ten Hag has pleaded for time after Manchester United lost at home to Brighton. But Erling Haaland didn’t need much time at all to show what kind of impact he will have at Manchester City.
The two biggest close season arrivals in Manchester had starkly different starts to the Premier League season on Sunday.
Dutch coach Ten Hag looked grim-faced as he watched United slump to a 2-1 loss to Brighton at Old Trafford. His side were outplayed in the first half before a second-half rally came up short.
Haaland scored twice in City’s 2-0 win at West Ham, netting from the penalty spot in the first half and adding a clinical finish in the second.
Ten Hag was brought in by United to help close the gap between the rivals, United having finished 35 points behind champions City last season.
If anything, the gap seems to have grown — thanks largely to Haaland.
The Norway striker was recruited by City to provide a clear focal point to the team’s attack and the towering Norway striker will clearly add another dimension.
United fans, meanwhile, are still waiting to see what kind of impact Ten Hag will have after a dispiriting performance that showed that many of the team’s old weaknesses still remain.
“Definitely a setback, a real disappointment,” Ten Hag said. “I knew from the start it will not be easy. And it’s a process, it takes time. But you don’t have time, we have to win games. We should have done better.”
Pascal Gross scored twice in the first half to put Brighton in control and United looked toothless and short of ideas until Cristiano Ronaldo came off the bench early in the second half.
With Ronaldo giving the attack a spark, United pulled one back through an own goal by Alexis Mac Allister after goalkeeper Robert Sanchez failed to punch away a corner.
United’s players were booed off the field but Haaland made an instant impression.
The 22-year-old showed his speed to accelerate away from two defenders and was brought down by goalkeeper Alphonse Areola before calmly sidefooting his penalty into the left corner.
His second goal was coolly taken from a Kevin de Bruyne pass.
Brentford came from two goals down to earn a 2-2 draw at Leicester thanks to substitute Josh Dasilva’s equaliser in the 86th minute.
Leicester had dominated and took a well-deserved 2-0 lead with goals in each half from Timothy Castagne and Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, before Ivan Toney pulled one back in the 62nd minute.
Dasilva slammed home a shot from the edge of the penalty area to level after cutting inside on to his left foot.