Erik ten Hag’s Manchester United team’s apparent blunders punished them as they were knocked out of the Europa League by Sevilla.
While Ten Hag did not call out or name any people, it was clear that he was dissatisfied with the manner in which United was removed from a competition in which they had genuine aspirations of winning.
The Spanish side won the second leg 3-0 to advance as 5-2 aggregate victors on an evening to forget for two of United’s most experienced players, David de Gea and Harry Maguire.
Ten Hag told BT Sport after the final whistle, “It’s apparent. It’s difficult to win a football game when we make mistakes like these.
“It’s a problem, and we have to admit it, but we have a chance to work on it against Brighton.” You have witnessed what I have witnessed. We were neither calm nor composed.”
De Gea had a nightmare night in his home country of Spain, and he was arguably at fault for all three goals his team conceded.
Within the first eight minutes, the Red Devils were trailing 1-0 as the goalkeeper made a dangerous pass to Harry Maguire, who had his pocket picked before Youssef El-Nesryi shot the hosts ahead.
While many originally faulted Maguire, BT Sport analyst Robbie Savage was particularly loud in his belief that the shot-stopper was to blame for delivering the ball to the centre-back in the first place.
Sevilla extended their lead just two minutes into the second half. Loic Bade’s looping header caught De Gea off guard, as the Spaniard was caught out underneath the shot, which cannoned in off the crossbar and over the line.
However, the worst was yet to come. A long, looping ball was thrown in De Gea’s direction outside the penalty area, but his awful attempt to control it failed spectacularly.
His bad touch fell to El-Nesryi, who curved his strike past the stranded De Gea to send Sevilla into a trance and United out of the competition.
Ten Hag did publicly back De Gea during his post-match media duties, saying, “David de Gea as a long-term goalkeeper? He has the cleanest sheets in the Premier League.”
Paul Scholes was not as kind after the game, lamenting the tone De Gea created with his mistakes.
“From the first minute, the goalkeeper, David De Gea, kicks the ball out, and from then on, he’s a nervous wreck,” the United legend alleged.
“In his own country, this is one of your most experienced players – a top Spanish goalkeeper.” That is not something you would expect.
“You should question the goalkeeper.” Ten Hag, I believe, will want to play out from the back, and De Gea is not a great footballer. You witnessed his pass. You must assess the situation.”