Man United boss Ten Hag: ‘We can’t feel sorry for ourselves’
Erik ten Hag has insisted Manchester United “cannot feel sorry for ourselves” after slumping to a 2-0 defeat at West Ham on Saturday.
Second-half goals from Jarrod Bowen and Mohammed Kudus consigned United to their worst start to a season since 1930, losing 13 matches across all competitions at this stage of a campaign for only the second time in their history.
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United were lacklustre at London Stadium despite dominating possession for long periods and must quickly regroup with high-flying Aston Villa next up at Old Trafford on Boxing Day.
Ten Hag said: “We have to play two more games this week but we can’t feel sorry for ourselves. No-one. We have to take the responsibility, if you are a player for Manchester United you have to do it together. Everyone has to be accountable and take responsibility.”
United have scored just 18 goals in 18 league games this season with Rasmus Hojlund enduring another torrid afternoon, registering just 17 touches before his 57th-minute substitution.
His replacement Marcus Rashford fared little better, as Alejandro Garnacho, Antony and Bruno Fernandes all also failed to find the net.
“They are capable of it,” said Ten Hag. “I know Rashford can score a goal, Holjund can score a goal, Antony can score goal, Garnacho can score a goal, Bruno can score a goal, Scott McTominay can score a goal.
“We have the scoring abilities in our squad and also from set-plays. In this moment, we are not doing it. We have to stick together but also they have to believe in themselves that they can do it, that they can get where they have to be, where you have to score and that is in the box, especially in the six-yard box. There you have to arrive as a striker. We attack with 11 so with one of them.”
Ten Hag backed Holjund to handle mounting criticism of his end product. The £72 million summer signing from Atalanta has scored five times in the Champions League but is yet to register a goal or assist in 15 Premier League appearances.
“I think he is a very strong character and he can deal with those stresses. I took him off, he was ill during the week. A little bit of a lack of power. So in that sense, I protected him.”
Willy Kambwala, 19, made his debut for United at centre-back with Raphaël Varane sidelined due to illness.