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Manchester United full-back Luke Shaw has branded his side’s performance in the Red Devils’ 2-0 loss to Newcastle as “unacceptable” and suggested his teammates’ levels have dropped in the Premier League.
The Manchester giants were second-best throughout Sunday’s loss at St. James’ Park and their margin of defeat could have been even wider had Newcastle made the most of their slew of chances.
The Magpies’ victory allowed them to leapfrog Man Utd in the Premier League table and enable the hosts to steal a march in the race to secure a top-four finish this term.
Shaw takes aim at teammates
Speaking just after full-time, a visibly bristly Shaw spoke at length about the manner of Sunday’s defeat and United’s dwindling form in the top tier since the Carabao Cup Final, saying:
“Newcastle are a very good side but I don’t think they won the game on quality today. “I think they won it on passion, hunger, desire, attitude and they clearly had that higher motivation than we (had).
“That can’t be possible. I feel like I say the same things every time we lose. It’s not acceptable and we know that. It was massive game today and they wanted it more and at Man United that cannot be possible.”
“The players had a chat in the changing room after with no staff around because ultimately it’s down to us as players on that pitch,” he said.
“It was nowhere near good enough and we had to speak, we had to speak out in front of each other and own up to it.”
Erik ten Hag echoes Shaw’s concerns
Luke Shaw wasn’t the only combatant of a United persuasion who was underwhelmed by the Red Devils’ showing at St. James’ Park and manager Erik ten Hag echoed the defender’s sentiments in his post-match press conference.
“I totally agree and that was also my assessment of this game”, said the Dutch coach.
“They were more determined, they were more passionate, more desire with them in many occasions on the pitch and then you can’t win games.
“I was surprised that we couldn’t match the determination, passion and desire of the opponent.
“You know before you travel to St James’ Park, to Newcastle what will be going on, especially after the cup.
“So, if you want to win big games, you have to be mature and I didn’t see that today on the pitch.”
Two home fixtures next up for United
With their grip on a top four place starting to loosen, United need to get their act together fast starting with Wednesday’s date with Brentford at Old Trafford.
The Bees famously trounced Man Utd 4-0 when the campaign was in its infancy and Thomas Frank’s side will be rubbing their hands at the prospect of taking on a vulnerable-looking United at the Theatre of Dreams.
A few days after that, United host Sean Dyche’s Everton in Manchester, where three points is a must against the relegation-threatened Toffees.
A week after their tussle with the Blues, United head to the City Ground to visit Nottingham Forest.
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