Harry Maguire says Manchester United’s players let down Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with their performance in the 5-0 defeat at home to Liverpool and that the squad are determined to make amends at Tottenham on Saturday.
United were thrashed at Old Trafford by their rivals Liverpool and the result increased the pressure on Solskjaer, whose side are already eight points off Premier League leaders Chelsea just nine games into the season.
Captain Maguire described the performance as “embarrassing” and said it has been a painful week since the defeat as the players came to terms with the loss and how to move on to play Tottenham away from home this weekend.
“It’s been tough, it’s been disappointing,” Maguire told Sky Sports. “When you look back at the result and the performance it was embarrassing. Nowhere near good enough for this club.
“It’s been a tough week. I’m not going to say we’ve moved on easily.
“It’s one of the lowest I’m sure all the players have felt in their career. You go home and you don’t sleep much, you’ve got thoughts running through your head. ‘If only I did this or this’. If I’m being honest I went home and I just looked at myself and what I can do better and take full responsibility on my shoulders.
“I hope every player in the dressing room is looking at themselves, taking full responsibility on their shoulders and not pointing the finger and blaming anyone else. You look at yourself first and foremost when you have a result like this and a period like this.
“We let the manager down against Liverpool. We let the fans down, the club down, us as players. So we have to take huge responsibility for that.
“Do we owe him a performance? Of course we do.”
United have let in 15 goals in the league this season and shipped 11 across their last three games in all competitions. They have kept just one clean sheet in their last 21 matches. They rank bottom of the table in the top-flight for tackles, duels won, and errors leading to shots.
They are damning stats but while Maguire doesn’t pay much attention to the specific numbers, he says the defensive unit must be much better than they have been, and as the centre-back leader he has to improve.
“We’ve conceded far too many goals. I take a big responsibility for that,” he said. “I take responsibility for my own performance but also the defensive performance as well.
“I’m the captain, I’ve been a mainstay in the defence for over two years. We’ve had some good runs but at the minute we’re not defending well enough. My performances haven’t been good enough and I’m looking to get back to the form I’ve shown prior to the injury in the last two seasons.
“From the start of the season we’ve conceded too many chances and we’ve been punished this week with the chances in the first half. We gave them chances and they punished us. You can’t do it against these good teams and you can’t always get away with it.
“If I could tell you why, we’d do something about it. We’re working on it, we’re analysing it. For sure, this week has been nowhere near good enough.
“We don’t generally look at stats. I didn’t know those stats [for tackles and duels won]. That’s something I’m sure the staff are looking at but we look at the performances and results. This past week we know we’ve conceded far too many goals and far too many chances. We know we have got to improve.”
Looking ahead to the game with Spurs, Maguire says the coaches and players have spent the past week talking about how they can perform better and now need to pull together to bounce back from that defeat to Liverpool.
“We’ve tried to move on as quickly as we can to try to prepare for another big game on the Saturday,” he said.
“Obviously no game in the midweek has made it more difficult, more time to analyse. But it’s probably what we needed as a group of players to speak and analyse where we’re going wrong and what we can do better.
“It’s not the first time I’ve been in this situation. It’s not the first time these lads have. We’ve now got to stick together as a group, try to move forward from the result and put on a positive performance on Saturday.
“We’ve got big players at this club, big experience, big international players and now we’ve got to show that.
“The spirit in the group is really good and we stick together and we can move forward.”
Watch Tottenham vs Manchester United live on Sky Sports Premier League from 5pm on Saturday; kick-off 5.30pm.
Premier League Preview: Redknapp’s Tottenham vs Man Utd verdict | Will West Ham’s rise continue? | Problems for Norwich, Everton
Pete Smith is joined by Jamie Redknapp, Oliver Yew and Simeon Gholam to preview another bumper weekend of Premier League action.
PART 1 | Jamie Redknapp previews the Saturday Night Football clash between Tottenham and Manchester United. Will United bounce back from their humiliating 5-0 defeat to Liverpool last weekend?
PART 2 | Pete Smith is joined by Oliver Yew and Simeon Gholam to look ahead to Aston Villa vs West Ham on Super Sunday. West Ham’s season continues to get better and better after their Carabao Cup victory against Man City. Will that good run continue at Villa Park?
PART 3 | Norwich vs Leeds on Super Sunday and Wolves vs Everton on Monday Night Football: Pressure building on Daniel Farke, Rafael Benitez looking for solutions.
October 30: Tottenham (a) – Premier League, kick-off 5.30pm, live on Sky Sports
November 2: Atalanta (a) – Champions League, kick-off 8pm
November 6: Man City (h) – Premier League, kick-off 12.30pm, live on Sky Sports
November 20: Watford (a) – Premier League, kick-off 3pm
November 23: Villarreal (a) – Champions League, kick-off 5.45pm
November 28: Chelsea (a) – Premier League, kick-off 4.30pm, live on Sky Sports
December 2: Arsenal (h) – Premier League, kick-off 8.15pm