Erik ten Hag says Manchester United disappointed fans with their “unacceptable” lack of fight and desire in Thursday’s humiliating Europa League exit to Sevilla.
Last week, the Red Devils blew a commanding lead in the quarter-finals when own goals from Tyrell Malacia and Harry Maguire ended the first leg in a chaotic 2-2 draw.
But United weakened rather than recovered in the second leg in Spain, falling to an embarrassing 3-0 defeat as Ten Hag’s side bowed out of the Europa League 5-2 on aggregate.
Youssef En-Nesyri capitalized on an early error by Harry Maguire on Thursday and, after Loic Bade’s header, punished David De Gea’s slip in a punishing defeat.
Putting Ten Hag that Sevilla seemed more prepared for the game than his team, he said: “I have to admit (that). It’s the truth.
“It’s hard, it’s hard, but it’s the truth. It can’t be and it’s unacceptable, but I think we’ve shown in the past that we can bounce back quickly.
“We did it between games many times this season but what we have to learn is to start the games better, with more enthusiasm, more serenity with the ball and when you have a setback you have to put up with it and continue”.
United’s Europa League exit will be compounded if they put on a similar performance against Brighton in Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final.
Ten Hag’s side lost at home to the Seagulls in his first game in charge and he knows he has a big job lifting them up for Wembley.
“I already started,” he said. “We lift them up and we have to pick them up.
“But we also have to deal with letting ourselves down, letting down the fans and if you want to win trophies, if you want to be successful, you need another character.”
Sevilla’s loss is in brackets along with other punishing defeats, from a 4-0 defeat at Brentford and a 6-3 thrashing at Manchester City to a 7-0 defeat at Liverpool.
Asked if going from high to low shows that the team has a lot to learn, Ten Hag said: “Yes, it is the truth that we have to be better.
“It’s not about gaming skills. No, it’s about character, so be calm, desire and passion.
“They were more willing to win. It cannot be and I find it unacceptable.
“After City, after Liverpool, after Brentford, and every time we recover.
“So, in that perspective, this team has character, so they have very good mental abilities, but on some occasions we’re not there.
“I think we have to accept that now, but it’s unacceptable because everyone can see that the demands and the standard have to be higher at a club like Manchester United.”