Erik ten Hag makes ‘demand’ to Man Utd stars after capitulation vs Sevilla

Erik ten Hag has admitted that his Manchester United players “weren’t ready” to compete against Sevilla and that led to them exiting the Europa League.

Man Utd were in a great position early into their Europa League quarter-final clash with Sevilla and it could have been game over by the end of the first leg.

The English side led 2-0 thanks to a Marcel Sabitzer brace but own goals from Tyrell Malacia and Harry Maguire levelled the two-legged tie ahead of the return game in Spain.

United put in a dismal performance in the second leg as they were easily beaten by Sevilla. Mistakes from Maguire and David De Gea gifted Youssef En-Nesyri two goals. His brace came either side of Loic Bade’s header just after half-time.

The Red Devils did not look like getting themselves back into the game as they suffered an embarrassing quarter-final exit. They now need to regroup ahead of Sunday’s FA Cup semi-final at Wembley against Brighton and Hove Albion.

Speaking post-match, Ten Hag admitted that United “were not good enough” against Sevilla on Thursday night.

“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,” Ten Hag told BT Sport.

“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 we have another opportunity and have to step up and show more character and personality.

“It’s not about them [the players that were missing], it’s about the players on the pitch. 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 tonight 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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Ex-England goalkeeper Rob Green thinks most of Sevilla’s goals were “avoidable” from Man Utd’s perspective.

“Well, you go across the board and the goals are avoidable. You cannot play a tie and gift them four goals. They gifted them another one when it was offside it could have been worse and been more. Man United needed it to finish with 15 minutes to go and there wasn’t a flicker of a comeback in that.

“You just hope that it doesn’t affect the players and the team.

“But you know they are stretched and that’s what they’ve got at the minute.”

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