Brighton thrashed Manchester United 4-0 at the Amex Stadium to ensure the visitors will finish the season with their worst points total in Premier League history.
The humiliating loss on the south coast means Ralf Rangnick's side can no longer match the 64 points they achieved in the 2013/14 campaign as the Germans spell in interim charge before he hands over the reins to Erik ten Hag hit a new low.
Ralf Rangnick apologized to Manchester United’s supporters after their “unacceptable” defeat which ensured the club will finish with their lowest Premier League points tally. United have been accused of being on the beach during their dismal season and Rangnick’s hapless team, who are in danger of missing out on Europa League qualification, were all at sea with Brighton rampant on the south coast.
Rangnick said: “To start with it’s important to apologize to our supporters. They came all the way from Manchester to Brighton. We were just not good enough from start to finish. The performance was very poor.
“It was a humiliating defeat today. Even more so for Manchester United. It was the second-highest defeat in my career. It wasn’t just that we lost 4-0, but it was the way we played. It was unacceptable.”
Graham Potter’s side raced out of the blocks and Moisés Caicedo’s early strike put Brighton in command. Second-half goals from Marc Cucurella, Pascal Gross, and the exceptional Leandro Trossard, in the space of 11 minutes, dished out a new low for United’s team of misfits as they slumped to a fifth successive away defeat. Brighton had not won at home since Boxing Day but it felt like Christmas arrived early for the home fans after this euphoric victory. The result means it is mathematically impossible for sixth-placed United to qualify for the Champions League, as they sit five points adrift of fourth-placed Arsenal with one game left to play.
After defeats at Manchester City, Everton, Liverpool, and Arsenal before this, United have now lost five consecutive Premier League away games - their longest such run since 1981.
Brighton took control of the game from the first whistle and deservedly took the lead in the 15th minute through Moises Caicedo. The 20-year-old, who had been linked with a move to United before signing for Brighton at the beginning of 2021, took advantage of the ball ricocheting off Alex Telles to tuck a low drive inside the post from the edge of the area. It was the Ecuador international's first goal for the club and the start of a memorable afternoon for the hosts. Former United forward Danny Welbeck had a chance to make it 2-0 just before the break, but his lofted effort over the stranded David de Gea after Raphael Varane's poor touch had too much power and cleared the crossbar.
When Cristiano Ronaldo, two goals away from 700 in his club career, blasted a free-kick from distance into the stands during a half that saw United fail to register a shot on target, a carnival atmosphere for the home fans - part of a record crowd at the Amex - was well underway.
United boss Ralf Rangnick responded by bringing on Edinson Cavani and Fred in place of Nemanja Matic and Anthony Elanga for the second period, but Brighton's dominance continued.
In response, Bruno Fernandes ambitiously attempted a volley from the edge of the area but his miscued effort careered harmlessly out of play. Nemanja Matic was next in on the act but the midfielder’s tame effort was also well off target.
United was struggling to deal with the influential Trossard and Welbeck blasted a volley over the crossbar from a free-kick with Brighton continuing to dominate.
They threatened again after Scott McTominay carelessly conceded possession inside his own half, but Trossard dragged his shot wide of the far post.
The visitors did manage to put the ball in the back of the net but Cavani, who is set to leave the club on a free transfer, was clearly offside when he poked home after Harry Maguire flashed a ball across the goalmouth.
United have now conceded 56 goals in the Premier League this season, their worst defensive record in a single campaign in the competition.
Brighton is ninth, five points off a Europa Conference League spot with two matches remaining.
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