Erik ten Hag says Manchester United did not show “fighting spirit from minute one” in last weekend’s defeat at Brentford – as the focus turns to the Monday Night Football clash with Liverpool, live on Sky Sports.
United were well beaten 4-0 by the Bees to leave them bottom of the Premier League table.
Ten Hag continued his criticism of his players and that performance at his press conference on Friday.
“I was definitely not happy,” he said.
“The basic stuff has to be good and that has to start with the right attitude.
“You need fighting spirit on the pitch and I didn’t see it from minute one.
“The players didn’t play good, a lot went wrong. You don’t have to talk about anything [tactical] when the attitude is not right.”
Ten Hag added he is aware of United’s intense rivalry with Liverpool and instructed his side to “act as a team” to gain confidence after a poor start to the season.
“I know the rivalry,” he said. “We are the rivals. We have to win every game but especially this game. It starts with yourself.
“Act as a team, follow the results and principles and from that you get confidence.”
Ten Hag: Glazers want to win
United look to kickstart their ailing campaign at a time of intense pressure on the Glazer family, the club’s owners.
Protests are planned against the owners before and during Monday’s clash with rivals Liverpool and Sir Jim Ratcliffe has publicly declared his interest in buying the club.
Asked about the protests against the Glazer family, Ten Hag said: “I can only say the owners want to win and the fans we want them behind the club.
“I can understand sometimes but I am not that long in the club that I can see all the backgrounds, but we have to fight together so we have to be unified and fight together.”
‘Ronaldo remains in our plans’
Anthony Martial has returned to training ahead of the game but his availability is unclear after injury, increasing the chances of Cristiano Ronaldo starting again.
There is unrelenting speculation about the wantaway star’s future but Ten Hag is still counting on the 37-year-old for the season ahead.
“I don’t know why he’s particularly in focus after Saturday,” he said.
“It was the team performance and the whole team’s attitude, including Ronaldo.”
Pushed on if he could guarantee Ronaldo will still be at United on September 2, Ten Hag added: “He’s in our plans, so that’s what I can say.”
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