Paul Pogba captained Manchester United during their 3-2 Premier League loss at Brighton.
First-half goals from Albion trio Glenn Murray, Shane Duffy and Pascal Gross inflicted defeat on United, with Romelu Lukaku pulling one back before Pogba scored a late consolation with a penalty.
Here, Press Association Sport analyses Pogba’s performance at the Amex Stadium.
Pogba lined up on the left side of a three-man central midfield, with Andreas Pereira as the anchor man and summer signing Fred further right. The 25-year-old was often the most advanced of the trio, looking to assist central striker Lukaku and wingers Juan Mata and Anthony Martial. His defensive responsibility appeared limited. In the second half, he was deployed in a deeper position after Pereira and Mata were replaced by attacking England duo Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford.
Pogba slipped through Lukaku in the opening 10 minutes but the Belgium international squandered the opportunity. He was guilty of a risky pass to Pereira in the build up to Brighton’s opening goal, while a sloppy ball across goal to Eric Bailly just after the restart almost let in Solly March. He conceded possession on a number of occasions with poor distribution, including a pass which went straight out of play for a Brighton throw-in.
The World Cup winner’s languid style can make it tough to accurately assess his demeanour but he certainly looked frustrated as his team once again struggled on the ground which was the scene of a 1-0 defeat in United’s penultimate away trip of last season. He was repeatedly seen expressing his displeasure by waving his arms about, particularly in a second period in which United showed little sign of fighting back.
Pogba was on target from the penalty spot in United’s opening win against Leicester and he again converted from 12 yards here, although it was too late to make a difference. His first-half cross-shot sailed harmlessly over, and he was unable to break into the box after being dropped into a more defensive role by manager Jose Mourinho at the break. A shot from range with 15 minutes remaining was tipped wide by Albion goalkeeper Mat Ryan.
Pogba is reportedly unhappy at Old Trafford and he did little to quash those rumours with his display on the south coast. He had little impact on the game and his attempts to galvanise his team-mates during a torrid first half in which they conceded three times appeared half-hearted. United were desperate for a leader to help inspire a second-half response but Pogba seemed more intent on bemoaning the situation before converting an inconsequential spot-kick deep into stoppage time.