Jamie Carragher praised Brighton’s “out-of-the-world” football and said Roberto De Zerbi’s side were one of the best in the Premier League after they adapted their tactics to beat Manchester United 3-1 on Saturday.
Brighton, sixth last season, won for the fourth time in five games this season as goals from Danny Welbeck, Pascal Gross and Joao Pedro secured a resounding victory at Old Trafford.
Aerial sports Expert Jamie Carragher took an in-depth look at their triumph on Monday Night Footballwith a focus on how they adapted to Manchester United’s surprise formation change.
Erik ten Hag’s side, who normally line up in a 4-2-3-1, instead used a midfield diamond, prompting De Zerbi to show his tactical acumen by changing Brighton’s approach in midfield. match, allowing the Seagulls to exploit United’s vulnerability. wide.
‘Man Utd’s system caused problems at Brighton’
Carragher said: “Manchester United came in with a different system, whether it was because they didn’t have any wide players available or they wanted to try and put (Marcus) Rashford and (Rasmus) Hojlund high up the pitch .
“There is no doubt that De Zerbi and his players didn’t know this formation was going to be until the start of the match and it caused them huge problems – not just with the ball, in fact without the ball. They wanted make a man-marking system and I found it difficult.
“If you actually watch the first 19 minutes, before Brighton scored, you see how Manchester United were on top in terms of shots, touches in the opponent’s box and passes in the final third, and how often they won possession when Brighton were trying to build from the back.”
Carragher then looked at an early example of Manchester United’s form when building from the back, starting with goalkeeper Andre Onana, and the confusion it caused for the Seagulls.
“The moment the ball comes back, you see coach De Zerbi, at the side of the pitch, shouting to the players about what they should do,” he said.
“You see (Mahmoud) Dahoud. His job was to put pressure on Casemiro, but since (Scott) McTominay is behind him, he doesn’t know what to do.
“Then you have (Kaoru) Mitoma looking for direction at the manager. Where should I go? Because there is no natural full-back.
“So Brighton were one-on-one all over the pitch but they felt uncomfortable, that’s the best way to explain it.
“It almost feels like Manchester United are trying to attract Brighton, a bit like Brighton are doing.
“The ball ends up going a long time and, to highlight in a way that Brighton weren’t sure who should be with who, as that ball goes a long time, you see Mitoma, their left winger, with McTominay.
“There is no doubt that the diamond formation used initially caused them real problems.”
De Zerbi’s intervention and Steele’s influence
Despite the initial confusion caused by Manchester United’s setup, Brighton were still able to play through Ten Hag’s side to score the opening goal, slotting the ball into the center of the pitch before Simon Adingra’s cross was buried by Welbeck.
According to Carragher, however, the break in play that followed was just as important as the goal itself, as it allowed De Zerbi to call Lewis Dunk to the touchline and explain and implement a significant tactical modification.
“What gave them the opportunity to change was scoring the first goal,” Carragher said.
“Dunk walks towards De Zerbi and they try to get to the bottom of what’s going on. He’s talking to his center back and you can see it very clearly. He mentions what the formation is and tells him what he needs to do . TO DO.
“You see him pointing the finger and what he’s talking about is Dunk and Van Hecke need to go further.
“Where we normally see Brighton’s centre-backs stay narrow and draw people towards them, they decided they needed to go wide instead because that’s where the space was.
“What it did, what I found really interesting, was it brought the goalkeeper more into the game. He’s very good with the ball, (Jason) Steele, we know that.
“But if we look at his passing charts in his first two games of the season, we see that the central defenders are taller and narrower, and there is a lot of passing in the center of the pitch.
“Then we come to the game against Manchester United. The centre-backs are deeper and wider and you don’t see passes coming through (through the center of the pitch) too often, because that’s where Manchester United had their numbers.
“The space was on the sides and that’s where we saw the goalkeeper make his passes.”
Carragher highlighted that Steele completed 53 passes against Manchester United, significantly more than his average of 34 last season.
“He’s a lot more involved in the game, because the centre-backs have split up so far, he’s almost had to be a centre-back and get involved a lot more. I thought it was really good.”
“We are looking at one of the best teams”
Carragher used the third goal to illustrate how De Zerbi’s changed tactics allowed Brighton to capitalize on the space left by United’s system in wide areas.
“For the third goal, Van Hecke makes small passes and brings the Mancheter United players closer,” he said. “They have that confidence, we’ve seen it before.
“The difference is in the central defender’s position. Thanks to United’s system, Dunk goes deeper and they can use that space (inside him). He is confident in using his partner on the ball. He also has his goalie there if needed..
“But when that happens, it means your full-back can go higher, it means the winger can come in, and we always know the striker comes deeper for Brighton.
“But the winger doesn’t normally go inside as much. What happens from Manchester United’s point of view, because they like to score, is their right back is with the winger and Lindelof is came in with the striker, hence why there is space out wide.
“McTominay is in a middle position. He was like an inside right. He didn’t really know what to do.”
Tariq Lamptey exploited the space on this occasion, carrying Dunk’s pass forward and crossing for substitute Joao Pedro to beat Onana.
“So Brighton adapted brilliantly,” Carragher continued. “That was the coach’s message, but the players still need to implement it on the pitch.”
Carragher also highlights the number of passes involved in the build-up to each Brighton goal.
“If we look at the players involved in the goals, we see that there were eight players involved in the first goal.
“For the 2-0, almost all players were involved, 29 passes. And again, for the third, almost all players were involved.
“The football we are seeing at Brighton at the moment is out of this world.
“Is it a shock? I don’t think a result Brighton get now is a shock.
“I think we are looking at one of the best teams in the Premier League and certainly one of the best managers.”