MANCHESTER UNITED broke Brighton’s determined resolve to keep up their pursuit of neighbours City.
But it needed two strokes of luck to finally get the goal the home sides hard work deserved in the 66th minute.
First United were awarded a corner they should not have been with the ball seeming to come off Romelu Lukaku.
When Marcus Rashford’s corner kick found it’s way to Ashley Young on the edge of the box his shot deflected of Brighton defender Lewis Dunk’s outstretched leg and looped past Mathew Ryan into the visitors goal.
The response from Old Traffotrd and the players seemed to be as much one of relief as celebration.
Having failed to score in two of their previous three games in all comps this was looking like being another frustrating occasion.
Newly promoted Brighton have already defied expectations this season and came into the match with just one defeat in seven.
Superbly organised at the back they were repelling every United attack.
When the back four was breached goalkeeper Ryan came to the rescue.
His incredible double save from Romelu Lukaku’s close range downward header and Pasul Pogba’s follow up had to be seen on a replay to be believed.
But this United team does not give up.
The way they took their foot off the ball in Basel in midweek was uncharacteristic. This was more like it as they continued to hammer away at Brighton.
Mourinho had every attacking player from his match day squad on by the end of this match and some still question the ambition of his play.
However Brighton could still have snatched a share of the points when with 15 minutes to go Anthony Knockaert broke through and fired across goal.
Knockaert had been involved in a controversial moment earlier in the game when he went down under a thumping challenge from Victor Lindeloff holding his ankle.
United refused to put the ball out or give it back when Brighton finally did.
FACTS, STATS, GOALS AND LOLS
- This was the first top-flight meeting between these sides since March 1983, when they drew 1-1 at Old Trafford.
- Two months later the pair met in the FA Cup final when an already relegated Brighton forced a replay with a 2-2 draw only to lose the replay 4-0.
- Brighton won only one of their previous 16 meetings in all competitions with Man Utd (D5 L10), with that sole victory coming in a home game in November 1982.
- Manchester United’s only home defeat against a team in their debut Premier League season came in 1996-97, losing 2-3 against Derby County.
- The Seagulls started so well that United had to wait until the 32nd minute before they even earned their first corner.
- Brighton keeper Mathew Ryan produced a brilliant double save to deny Romelu Lukaku and Paul Pogba on the strike of half time. He was once a training partner of former tennis champ Kim Clijsters.
- The Seagulls were left fuming when United played on for two minutes while Anthony Knockaert lay injured on the ground – and then failed to give the ball back once Brighton had finally kicked it into touch.
- United haven’t suffered a defeat at Old Trafford since losing 1-2 to Manchester City in September 2016, a run now stretching back 39 matches.
- Pascal Gross has been directly involved in 62% of Brighton’s 13 Premier League goals this season (three goals, five assists), the second highest ratio in the division after Tammy Abraham at Swansea (71%).
- Anthony Martial has been involved in seven Premier League goals this season (five goals, two assists), this despite playing only 374 minutes before this game – averaging a goal involvement every 53 minutes.