Erik ten Hag pleaded with his Manchester United flops to “stick together” and keep calm after their dismal season hit a new low in Saturday’s 2-0 defeat against West Ham.
Ten Hag’s woeful side were blown away by goals from Jarrod Bowen and Mohammed Kudus in the second half at the London Stadium.
United have won just one of their last seven matches in all competitions, losing three of the last four.
They have failed to score in four successive matches for the first time since 1992 and have lost at least 13 times in all competitions before Christmas for the first time since 1930.
Amid recent reports that United’s players have lost faith in Ten Hag due to their manager’s hardline personality, the Dutch coach urged his squad to stay unified as the crisis mounts.
“In 2023, we won a Cup, we played the FA Cup final, we were third in the league. There were highlights but we are over-performing, but in this moment we are underperforming,” Ten Hag said.
“There are reasons for it, we have many injuries, so the team will be better if the injured ones return.
“We have to be calm, stick together, stick to the plan, we have to do it together.”
United are in eighth place in the Premier League, having already been knocked out of Europe after finishing bottom of their Champions League group.
They have also been eliminated from the League Cup after winning it last term and face a winter of discontent that could cost Ten Hag his job.
The former Ajax boss admitted United paid the price for failing to take their chances, with Alejandro Garnacho guilty of an especially glaring miss.
“I think it was a decent 72 minutes where we didn’t take our chances. We should have gone in the lead but we didn’t and then it was one moment of switching off,” he said.
“He (Alejandro Garnacho) was one on one with the keeper and he could’ve taken it but we didn’t.”
United’s managers since Alex Ferguson retired in 2013 have appeared haunted by the task of emulating the Scot’s success.
David Moyes, now in charge of West Ham, was one of those who tried and failed to replicate Ferguson’s dynastic reign, lasting less than a season in charge.
So it was fitting that Moyes delivered another damaging blow to Ten Hag’s own bid to bring the glory days back to Old Trafford.
Ten Hag conceded injury-hit United’s lack of consistent defending was a key to their struggles.
“At this moment we are not top, but we have seen last week against Liverpool we were head-to-head. We didn’t score, we had the best opportunities of the game,” Ten Hag said.
“There we defended very well for 90 minutes. That has to be always our standard like what we did there. You have to bring that to every game on the pitch.”