Soccer

Mistake-prone United loses against Brighton; City cruises

Reuters

Sergio Aguero scored a hat-trick in Manchester City’s 6-1 rout of Huddersfield Town on Sunday before the champions’ neighbors Manchester United suffered a limp 3-2 defeat at Brighton & Hove Albion that left Paul Pogba questioning his team’s attitude.

While Pep Guardiola’s City again dazzled against the only side to hold it without a goal at Etihad Stadium in the league last season, United produced a tepid, defensively inept display that offered little hope the club will be in the mix for the title this season.

Sunday’s other game saw Watford beat Burnley 3-1 to leave the Hornets as one of five sides unbeaten with six points at the top of the table.

United manager Jose Mourinho admitted his side was punished for “big mistakes”, with center halves Eric Bailly and Victor Lindelof particularly guilty as Brighton scored three first-half goals — more than United conceded in any Premier League match last season.

Glenn Murray and Shane Duffy scored twice in two minutes and, after Romelu Lukaku hit back, Bailly conceded a needless penalty which Pascal Gross converted via David de Gea’s legs.

Pogba’s injury-time penalty, after Marouane Fellaini was brought down, came too late to matter.

United’s captain was quick to admit the team has problems.

“They had more hunger than us. My attitude wasn’t right,” said Pogba, adding that his teammates also failed to approach the game in the correct manner.

“We made mistakes we shouldn’t make. We tried to push and push, we kept trying, but it was a bit too late. It is a big lesson for us. I kept trying but I lost a lot of balls.”

The contrast with City’s performance hours earlier couldn’t have been more stark.

Once Aguero broke the deadlock in the 25th minute, there was no way back for Huddersfield. The Argentine followed up with further strikes in the 35th and 75th minutes as City won easily without the injured Kevin De Bruyne.

“I never saw him like this since I was here,” said Guardiola, praising Aguero after pairing him with Gabriel Jesus up front.

“Sergio is in an incredible condition with the ball and without the ball. Last season, Huddersfield played five at the back. We decided today we would play with two strikers.”

Jesus and David Silva also scored, with a late Terence Kongolo own goal meaning Huddersfield has now allowed nine goals in two games.

City was so dominant it wouldn’t have been a surprise if it had managed to emulate the 10-1 result it managed when the teams met in 1987.

Unbeaten Watford is one of the teams alongside City at the top of the table after an eye-catching win at Burnley following early second-half strikes from captain Troy Deeney and Will Hughes.

Watford had been winless in its past 12 away games and hasn’t scored away from Vicarage Road since January.

Former Burnley forward Andre Gray had opened the scoring with James Tarkowski replying early in the game.

“It is important the amount of goals, but the quality as well,” said Watford manager Javi Gracia.