At the end there was a roar but it was not the loudest one this stadium has ever heard. There was joy and celebration but no disbelief, no sense that this was a once in a lifetime moment. Brighton had beaten Manchester United and who was really that surprised?This is the reality for United under Jose Mourinho. This is the new state of things.
Mourinho — with the help of the two managers who passed before him — has built a United team to be respected but not feared. The aura has gone, replaced by a sheen of uncertainty and vulnerability.This, as strange as it sounds, is a United team waiting to be beaten by anyone with the courage to rock up and have a real go. Here on the south coast, Brighton rocked up and rolled United out of town in a hurry.
What a day for Brighton. A big performance and a big result against a big club. Forget the faux narrowness of the score line. Chris Hughton’s team were superior by more than a single goal.
But what a day for United, too. For Mourinho and his aimless, ambling group of players this was at the very best a wake-up call and at the very worst a warning of how things will be for the foreseeable future.