Following Albion in the Premier League can be a contradictory experience at times.

It is a pleasure to cover the local club home and away against the best teams in the land and at some of the finest stadia in the world.

No doubt it feels similar to support them from the stands in such fixtures or to work on the club staff.

But, at the same time, you want to see the Seagulls survive in the top flight. Thrive. Aim for that eventual goal of top-ten status as stated by Tony Bloom.

You want them to surprise some of the bigger clubs with more glorious histories who might under-estimate the outfit from the Sussex coast.

So you turn up at Anfield, famed the world over for its atmosphere, hoping they keep the Kop quiet.

(Which they did in the second half this season).

You go to the Etihad hoping Manchester City don’t pass the ball well.

(But they always do).

You went to Stamford Bridge hoping Eden Hazard was rested and go to Tottenham hoping Harry Kane doesn’t get a kick.

You probably also hope Manchester United don’t have nights like they enjoyed at the Amex. But you can appreciate it when it happens.

(It’s when Bournemouth come and win 5-0 that you really start to worry).

Tuesday night was not the first time Albion have taken a hammering on home turf.

Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City, on the afternoon they won the title, have all turned it on in Falmer.

Sometimes, including Tuesday, the final margin could easily have been a bit narrower on the balance of play and chances created.

The third counter-attacking goal by United was reminiscent of how Liverpool broke away to go 3-0 up seconds after Glenn Murray was denied by a fine Simon Mignolet save two seasons ago.

So, while you hope for a major story like Albion beating United or Arsenal, there is also a chance to admire what they are up against.

Such experiences have to be expected from time to time at this level.

They certainly help put the successes - every point and every goal - against such footballing powers into perspective.

But the tougher days also beg the question as to how good the opposition were and whether the Seagulls were as good as they can be.

“You always feel like you are really on the stretch,” Graham Potter said of playing against United after his side’s 3-0 defeat.

“You can try and press them but they have got such quality and they can play through you.

“Having said that, I thought we won the ball back a lot in the second half.

“I thought we won the ball back well.

“It was our set play (for the third goal) and it’s a knockdown for them and it’s a blistering counter attack which we know they are very good at.

“We are disappointed, of course, but we can’t let it affect us.

“We have got to dust ourselves down and get ready for Saturday.”

Perhaps the disappointment for Albion fans was they saw the game slip away from their side while trying to operate a new, unusual plan which was tailor-made for the occasion.

They didn’t feel like Albion lost the game doing what they do best.

Maybe it seems more palatable to lose playing what is perceived as your most tried and trusted way.

Perhaps the question is, Why change it?

Or maybe the opposition are too good anyway, and then the question you will hear is, Why didn’t they come up with a plan?

Albion felt they could press United on the ball, contain them out wide and test their pace through Aaron Connolly.

Potter’s pre-match interview suggested the idea was always for Neal Maupay to come off the bench, although maybe not as part of a double switch at half-time.

The Argus:

The Albion boss said: “It’s not so easy to get that pressure on.

“We tried to, we had an idea how to but, in the end, they were probably a little bit too good.

“Their movement in Rashford and Shaw down the left I thought was good and Fernandes was causing problems behind our midfield.

“We can always do things a little bit better but you have to credit the opposition as well.

“I really liked our personality especially in the second half.

“I wouldn’t be too down on the boys for the first half either because I just thought Manchester United came out really well and pushed us back with their quality players.”

Albion had six shots on target when they lost 5-1 to Liverpool at the Amex in 2017-18.

They had ten goal attempts in total, including a Davy Propper header against the post, when they went down 4-0 to Chelsea in the same season.

They will point to two super David De Gea saves and a pair of near misses by Leandro Trossard on Tuesday.

Had one of those gone in, with United having removed the influential pair of Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes, might we have seen a great finale?

“The effort, the intent was there,” Potter said.

“We had shots on goal, De Gea made saves, but you are always on the stretch against them because they have got that quality, they have got that speed and power and also intelligence.”

Such is United’s form, Potter believes they can currently be ranked in the same group as Manchester City and Liverpool, who both visit the Amex in the next ten days.

We have seen those two clubs in full flow - scoring four and threatening more - on the final day of the last two seasons.

It will be fascinating to see whether they can be kept quiet and how Potter goes about trying to do it.

Any reward from those two games will be something to enjoy.

We appreciate how hard a task it will be.