LONDON: Manchester United’s embarrassing 7-0 loss to Liverpool was a brutal reality check for Erik ten Hag’s improving side, but the manager has urged his men to get back on their feet this week.
Just a week after winning their first silver medal in six years, United were put to the sword by Jurgen Klopp’s revived side on Sunday and collapsed as Liverpool scored six second-half goals at Anfield.
Ten Hag’s men had traveled to the home of their greatest rivals with one leap after losing just one in 22 games and after defeating Newcastle and lifting the League Cup at Wembley.
Their impressive run also included a landmark victory over Barcelona in the Europa League as they chased success on four fronts.
But they walked away from Anfield with their tails between their legs after the most painful defeat in the history of the 20-time English champions.
The humiliation ends fanciful talk of a potential quadruple and leaves third-placed United 14 points behind leaders Arsenal and well behind second-placed Manchester City.
Ten Hag was scathing about his team, accusing the players of an “unprofessional” and “unacceptable” performance.
The miserable performance shows just how much work the Dutchman still needs to do, despite unmistakable progress this season, to rebuild a club that has not won the Premier League since 2013.
United had already suffered an embarrassing 6-3 defeat at Manchester City and a 4-0 defeat at Brentford this season.
The debacle at Anfield was a new low but Ten Hag urged his side to use it as motivation for the rest of the season, starting with Thursday’s Europa League round of 16 first leg at home to Real Betis.
“We’ve seen in the past that we can bounce back – to Brentford, to Manchester City,” he told the BBC.
“This is definitely a strong setback and unacceptable. I’m really disappointed and angry about it.
“It’s a reality check. We have to take that seriously.”
– horror show –
After an even first half, United were torn apart by a Liverpool side who themselves suffered the humiliation of a 5-2 Champions League defeat by Real Madrid last month.
The much-touted Casemiro was a bystander as the visitors were overrun in midfield and United’s defense was shambolic as the home side scored seemingly at will.
United skipper Bruno Fernandes has been particularly harshly criticized by former United captains Roy Keane and Gary Neville.
After the final whistle, Keane told Sky Sports: “Fernandes’ body language was a disgrace to me today.
“He’s a really talented boy, he’s your captain. He has so much talent but his body language, waving his arms and not running back… You wouldn’t be happy with him in our dressing room, I’m telling you.”
Neville said United’s performance was a “disgrace” but backed Ten Hag to quickly change things ahead of their Europa League clash with Real Betis.
“I think Erik Ten Hag will be dealing with them very, very heavily over the next 24, 48 hours – he’s already done that a number of times this season – and I’m hoping that basically normal duty will be back up by the end next week,” he said.
United’s upcoming games offer them a chance to get back on track as relegation-threatened Southampton visit Old Trafford following the game against Betis.
Andy Mitten, editor of the fanzine United We Stand, urged calm and perspective despite the shock of the result at Anfield.
“I know there are a lot of emotions at the moment but United still look very comfortable in third place, they are seven points clear of Liverpool,” he told the BBC.
“No way I would have seen that at the start of the season. Won the League Cup, still in the FA Cup, still in the Europa League.” –AFP
https://www.thesundaily.my/home/man-utd-attempt-reset-after-mauling-by-liverpool-PH10713873 Man Utd seek reset after Liverpool defeat