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Under-fire Erik ten Hag says Manchester United need to “stand up” and work “shoulder by shoulder” to turn around a season that is threatening to go into a tailspin.
Old Trafford is under the spotlight after two 3-0 home humiliations in the space of four days ratcheted up the pressure on a club enduing their worst start to a campaign since 1962-63.
Sunday’s derby defeat at the hands of rivals Manchester City was compounded by Newcastle on Wednesday, who comfortably won the repeat of February’s Carabao Cup final.
It underlined just how far things have gone off track since the sides met at Wembley, with United now having lost eight of their 15 matches in all competitions this term.
“This is not good enough and we know that,” manager Ten Hag said after Miguel Almiron, Lewis Hall and Joe Willock struck for Eddie Howe’s Magpies.
“We were in the game and then in a couple of minutes we are giving the game away.
“That’s below our standards and we know that all and we have to take responsibility for this.”
United’s performances have been as much a concern as the results, leading pressure to mount on Ten Hag just 17 months after starting in the post.
Bookmakers’ odds on him leaving have been slashed, but the defiant Dutchman said he was a “fighter” as United prepare for three key games before November’s international break.
Premier League matches away to Fulham and home to Luton bookend next Wednesday’s trip to Copenhagen as they attempt to keep their Champions League campaign alive.
Asked how he lifts everyone ahead of the Saturday lunchtime kick-off at Craven Cottage, Ten Hag told MUTV: “Yeah, but that is our job. We sleep and (Thursday) we have to go again, so we have to stand up.
“(Sticking together) is the only way, the only way we do it, shoulder by shoulder, then we will come through this.”
Ten Hag has repeatedly spoke about togetherness in recent weeks and has taken hope from the misfiring squad’s ability to get narrow victories over the line.
But players continue to underperform, both individually and collectively, and confidence appears to be an issue at United.
“Yeah, that’s normal,” Ten Hag said. “But you only get your confidence when you take responsibility, when you fight, starting from winning your battles, winning and dictating the ground on the pitch.
“When you do that, then you get results and from there on you build your own confidence.
“So, confidence is something that is in your own hands (as an) individual but of course you have to do it as a team.
“You have to stick together and you have to do it together.”
No players spoke to the media after United’s latest embarrassment at the hands of Newcastle, with the team booed at both half-time and the final whistle.
A number of supporters had made an exit before full-time, but on a night of understandable frustration there remained supportive chants from sections of the Old Trafford faithful.
“The crowd were behind us, so I have to congratulate the fans,” Ten Hag added. “They were all game behind us – we didn’t deserve but they were.
“We tried to fight but we make easy mistakes and they took the chances.”
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