Manchester United manager Erik Ten Hag lambasted the lack of fight in his players after they were eliminated from the Europa League following their loss to Sevilla in the quarterfinal on Thursday night.
The Red Devils lost 3-0 to Sevilla at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan in Spain as they made a sad departure from the Europa League quarter-finals 5-2 on aggregate.
Captain Harry Maguire and long-serving goalie David De Gea were the notable players criticised following the game after Sevilla’s forward Youssef En-Nesyri netted twice, but Erik Ten Hag was angry with the performance and attitude of all his players.
Erik Ten Hag said: “We have to face that we let ourselves down and we let the fans down, If you want to win trophies, if you want to be successful, you need character.
“We have to be better. It’s not about playing skills. It’s about character, to be composed, to have desire and passion. Sevilla had more willingness to win, and that can’t be. I think it’s unacceptable.
“When we make such mistakes it is very difficult to win a football game.”
“When you are playing for Man Utd, you have to be ready for every game…we have to blame ourselves.”
“We lost the battles. Sevilla had more passion, more desire, more willingness, and that’s difficult to win games.
“The players have to perform. I believe in them and trust them, but they have to show it and they were not good enough.
He added: “We have shown on so many occasions good things but tonight we weren’t ready for the game. At this level, playing for Manchester United, you have to be ready for every game.
“This was a great opportunity, a great occasion, to win something and we gave it away. We have to blame ourselves. It’s gone, we can’t change it.”
Ten Hag defended the Manchester United goalie after his error on Thursday night
Meanwhile, Erik Ten Hag stood up to De Gea’s defence after his blunder that led to Sevilla’s third on the night.
Ten Hag said: “He’s the one with the most clean sheets in the Premier League, and that shows he’s a very capable goalkeeper.”
Manchester United now have to respond brightly on Sunday when they face Brighton and Hove Albion in the FA Cup Semi-final at Wembley.
The Dutchman further said: “We have to look forward to Sunday, that’s the next opportunity.
“We showed in the past we can quickly bounce back. We have done it many times this season, but we have to start games better with more desire and more composure on the ball.
“When you get the setback you have to deal with it and carry on. I had this question many times, after Manchester City (6-3), after Liverpool (7-0) and after Brentford (4-0), and every time we bounce back.
“This team has character and mental skills, but sometimes we are not there. I think we have to accept that now. Everyone can see the demands and standard has to be higher in a club like Manchester United.”
The Red Devils play Brighton and Hove Albion next as they seek to return to the final of the FA Cup since the 2017/18 season when they were defeated 1-0 by Chelsea.