Tuesday, February 27News That Matters

Erik ten Hag reveals who to blame for Europa League exit at the hands of Sevilla

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag questioned a lack of ‘passion’ and ‘desire’ from his players in their Europa League defeat at the hands of Sevilla on Thursday.

United, having thrown away a 2-0 lead late in the first leg because of two own goals, had a bad start when Youssef En-Nesyri capitalised on a poor pass from David de Gea to Maguire under pressure.

Loic Bade scored Sevilla’s second through a corner, before En-Nesyri was gifted his second and Sevilla’s third by a disappointing mis-control from De Gea miles from goal.

But across the 90 minutes at the hostile Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, the Red Devils barely even turned up.

“It’s clear. When you make such mistakes, it’s very difficult to win a football game,” Ten Hag stated as he spoke to BT Sport after the game.

“We have to do better, that’s the demand. We were not composed, not calm. We didn’t beat the press, when you do there are so many spaces behind, and it was obvious at the start how to do it.

“We lost the battles, they had more passion, more desire, more willingness, that’s difficult to win games. We can’t run away from it. On Sunday [against Brighton in the FA Cup semi-final], we have another opportunity and have to step up and show more character and personality.”

Man United were without Bruno Fernandes due to suspension, with Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane currently sidelined through injury.

“It’s not about [the players who were missing], it’s about the players on the pitch,” Ten Hag said. “They have to perform. I believe in them and trust them, but they have to show it and they were not good enough.

“We have shown on so many occasions good things but we weren’t ready for the game. At this level, playing for Manchester United, you have to be ready for every game.

“This was a great opportunity, a great occasion, to win something and we gave it away – we have to blame ourselves. It’s gone, we can’t change it. We have to look forward to Sunday, that’s the next opportunity.”

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