Luke Shaw said a result like Manchester United’s humiliation at the hands of rivals Liverpool had been coming as scrutiny continues over Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s position.
The under-fire Red Devils boss called Sunday’s 5-0 home defeat to Jurgen Klopp’s team the “darkest day” of his near three years in the dugout, admitting they had hit “rock bottom”.
Liverpool’s biggest ever Old Trafford win compounded poor recent performances and will test the United hierarchy’s support of a man they gave a new three-year deal to over the summer.
Those in the corridors of power are well aware of how damaging Sunday’s loss was and, despite some dissatisfied murmurings beginning to seep out of the dressing room, there is yet to be a concrete update on Solskjaer.
Pressure will continue ahead of Saturday’s trip to Tottenham, with United’s first tweet on Monday met by widespread negativity. “Ole is setting his sights on United’s next three games in a bid to fight back,” was the post.
While the owners may ignore that reaction, they will have noted United’s share price dropping from USD16.20 to USD15.83 at one point after the New York Stock Exchange opened on Monday. It has since recovered to around USD16.
Criticism of the dreadful display against Liverpool has been widespread, with left-back Shaw – so impressive last season and for England at Euro 2020 – holding his hands up.
“Not good enough,” he said. “I know of course this game is a team sport, a team game, but I think as individuals we need to be accountable of some of the performances today.
“And that’s why I’m here now. I’m not hiding in there (in the dressing room), not speaking.
“I come out, I say wasn’t good enough and I speak on behalf of myself, not the team. I’m accountable for my performance and it wasn’t good enough.
“Like I said, I’m not here to speak about the team. We know we can be better but for me also I need to be better than I was today. That’s why I come here now, not hide, speak to you, and tell it how it is.”
Put to Shaw that the players looked lost at times and asked if that was on manager Solskjaer, he told Stadium Astro: “Like I said, I think it’s ourselves that we need to look at, first and foremost, in the mirror.
“Are we doing everything right and preparing right for the games in ourselves?
“Of course we have the tactics and how the manager wants us to play, but I think at times we’re way too easy to play against.
“I think, for example, you look at the first goal, it can’t be possible that they can have sort of three running through in the first five minutes. We need to be more compact, we need to be better and we know that.
“I think also maybe we can say this result was coming.
“I think in past games where we’ve won, we haven’t been at our best and we know that.
“We felt that inside the dressing room and today we need to reflect and we have to move on from this because it hurts.”
United travel to Tottenham in the Premier League on Saturday, with a Champions League trip to Atalanta and Old Trafford return against neighbours Manchester City swiftly following.
“I don’t know, it’s our job, so we go home, like I said, we reflect and of course tomorrow is a new day,” Shaw added.
“Personally, I just want to thank the fans for how they reacted – 5-0 down and they were still with us, they were still there, still singing, still cheering, stayed until the end.
“Of course we really appreciate that and of course we want to apologise to them for the performance we put on today because it’s not acceptable and it’s not a performance of a Manchester United team like ourselves.”
Paul Pogba was sent off in the 60th minute against Liverpool for a late challenge on Naby Keita, having only come on at half-time.
He said on Twitter: “No time to feel sorry for ourselves… Wake up, step up and make the next days better!”