Man Utd: Erik ten Hag says squad ‘not good enough’ after defeat by Bournemouth

9 December 2023 0 By Total Football News

By Simon StoneBBC Sport at Old Trafford

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag said the humiliating 3-0 home Premier League defeat by Bournemouth left him "annoyed" and "disappointed" and admitted his side were "not good enough to be consistent" as their season lurched into another bout of soul-searching.

The latest setback is as bad as any experienced during Ten Hag's tenure, with skipper Bruno Fernandes calling the performance "not acceptable".

Ten Hag, meanwhile, described United's start as "no good" and "poor".

Once they had fallen behind to Dominic Solanke's fifth-minute effort, they never seriously threatened an equaliser.

Coming seven days after the performance at Newcastle that was roundly condemned, it raised serious questions over the assurances Ten Hag delivered around the midweek win over Chelsea that United were moving forward.

Asked if his current squad could achieve the consistency required of an elite team, Ten Hag admitted the answer was negative.

"As a squad, we are not good enough to be consistent," he said.

"I'm annoyed, disappointed, definitely. I expected something different. The way we started was no good. It was poor."

Former Celtic striker Chris Sutton told BBC Radio 5 Live that United were "being schooled in their own backyard" and that the scoreline "flattered" them.

Match of the Day pundit and former England midfielder Jermaine Jenas said: "You haven't got a clue what the future looks like. Whatever is in Ten Hag's mind, I can't see it on the football pitch. I don't think we're going to see it."

United have now lost 11 games in all competitions this season, the same as they have won. This was their seventh defeat in 16 matches in the league. They have gone behind in half of those 16 games and conceded nine goals in the first half-hour of matches at Old Trafford in all competitions.

And, while Bournemouth are unquestionably improving and have taken 13 points from five games, the fact that trips to Liverpool and West Ham, followed by a Boxing Day encounter with Aston Villa, loom after Tuesday's Champions League encounter with Bayern Munich - a match United must win to stand any chance of reaching the last 16 - cannot fill any supporter with optimism for what lies ahead.

'Half-a-billion spent and they can't control a game'

Sutton added: "You strip everything back - the performances haven't been there. They've been a fortunate Manchester United this season. They've beaten sides in the bottom half of the table."

Ten Hag says he has to take responsibility for United's performances.

The same is also true of his team selections and, to that end, the decision to start with Anthony Martial backfired.

As was the case at Newcastle, Martial made virtually no impact and was replaced by Rasmus Hojlund to huge cheers only 11 minutes into the second half.

It barely seems plausible the Frenchman, who has scored twice in 19 appearances this season, is worthy of a starting spot. But Ten Hag defended him anyway.

"Two weeks ago against Everton, he played a very good game. He absolutely has the competences and abilities to play, so I don't think it's fair after a performance like this to go to one player," he said. "We as a group failed altogether."

In fairness to Martial, he was not on his own in disappointing.

Fernandes, who was booked and is now suspended for the Anfield trip, made no headway against the Bournemouth midfield. Luke Shaw's lack of physicality was exposed by the visitors in the second half and Sofyan Amrabat was outmuscled in midfield.

It was a throwback to the day, almost 10 years ago exactly, when then United boss David Moyes claimed his side needed to improve in a number of areas "passing, creating chances and defending".

Fernandes shrugged off the boos that accompanied the final whistle, saying it was a "normal" reaction after such a result.

The same could also be said of the thousands of empty red seats that shone out of the gloom on a day, weather-wise, equally as abysmal as the performance of the home side.

The stadium will be full and vibrant on Tuesday night, with the outcome of this contest parked as United try to save their Champions League skins.

But elimination with bring more pressure. The Liverpool trip has worrying echoes of the same game five years ago, after which Jose Mourinho was sacked. United have one more point now than they had then.

"As a group, we have to improve. We have to get tougher. We have to be ready for the game," said Ten Hag.

"In this league, if you are not playing on the highest levels you get killed."

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