embarrassing | 

Cristiano Ronaldo laughs at Man United team-mates as they are humiliated at Brighton

This was the evening when United hit rock bottom and the players associated with this performance should be in no doubt that their reputations are scarred by the shamble

Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo reacts REUTERS/Ian Walton

Kevin Palmer

Manchester United need this miserable, depressing and increasingly embarrassing season to come to an end.

After another abject performance from a set of players who have clearly given up on a campaign that ran out of steam many months ago, Graham Potter’s Brighton showed more hunger, desire and class from first to last as they secured a comfortable home win.

This was the evening when United hit rock bottom and the players associated with this performance should be in no doubt that their reputations are scarred by the shambles they are a part of.

Make no mistake, the final scoreline in this game did not do justice to the dominance Brighton had over a United side that lacked ideas and motivation on another dark evening, as the home side could have taken their goal tally into double figures.

When United look back on this period in their history, the hammering against Brighton will be remembered as ground zero, as they now look set to finish in excess of 30 points behind the eventual Premier League champions.

Brighton took a deserved 15th-minute lead courtesy of Moises Caicedo’s first goal for the club.

Gross’ initial attempt was blocked by Alex Telles before Ecuador midfielder Caicedo drilled into the bottom left corner from distance.

Albion should have doubled their lead three minutes before the break after Raphael Varane made a mess of Robert Sanchez’s long kick forward, but former United forward Danny Welbeck lobbed over with only David De Gea to beat.

Yet the second goal Brighton fully merited duly arrived when a flowing Brighton mood was finished off by Marc Cucurella after 54 minutes, how in tears as the emotion of his goal proved too much for him.

It got worse for United when Pascal Gross carved open a woeful United defence after 57 minutes, with Cristiano Ronaldo laughing as he looked on at United’s demise.

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The humiliation continued United were in danger of being humiliated and fell 4-0 behind after Leandro Trossard scored with all-too much ease. VAR checked for possible handball but the goal was awarded, with United fans chanting “you’re not fit to wear the shirt”.

"The result is what it is. It is not good enough," said Bruno Fernandes, offering an all-too familiar post match apology.

"They outplayed us. They always had a solution. Pressed us better and they deserved the result.

"A little bit of everything went wrong. Quality. Mentality. They deserved to win and we deserve to be in the position we are in now.

"It's something that we have to look and be embarrassed because that was not good enough from us and we have to do much better.

"I don't want to talk about the future, we have still one game this season and we have to win.

"I talked with the club about the future many times before I signed my contract because I think the future can be good, but obviously many things need to be fixed, as we have seen this season."

How did the team with the highest wage bill in the Premier League sink this low?

It is a question that has been asked time and again over the last few months and it has long since been clear that a cancer is eating away at the fabric of this great club.

Some blame the American owners, others blame failed managers, but the reality has to be that this is a failing of highly-paid footballers who have allowed United’s standards to sink to alarming levels.

Ronaldo, Raphael Varane and Bruno Fernandes were among the A-listers on the United team sheet last night, but this team needs to be ripped up and rebooted.

Brighton’s story is very different, with Potter’s side securing their highest points total in a season when they have troubled all of the Premier League’s top sides.

Yet given the magnitude of United’s stature as a club, they will inevitably attract all the headlines after this latest pathetic display.

With just one game left to play this season, United are a football club drifting aimlessly towards no-man’s land.

If the new United manager Erik ten Hag didn’t appreciate the scale of the task he has taken on at Old Trafford, watching a replay of this horror show might be enough to make him run away from the challenge he has agreed to take on this summer.

Best of luck, Erik...

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