(Reuters) – Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford questioned their workrate and mentality as he offered a brutally honest appraisal of his side’s slump in form after Wednesday’s 2-0 derby defeat by Manchester City at Old Trafford.
United’s surge after manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took over from the sacked Jose Mourinho in December seems like a distant memory, with the club having lost seven of their last nine matches in all competitions, including the last three without scoring.
“Today we didn’t play like Manchester United. It’s not right. The bare minimum is to work hard and give all for the badge, the supporters, the club and yourself,” Rashford said.
“It has been a tough road to get to where we are, to get there and not be putting up the same performances as we were in January is disappointing,” he added.
“We know what’s been going wrong, it’s mentality and willingness to run for your team. Forget the league and top four, you don’t lose this game. It’s that simple as a Manchester United fan. We (the players) never call each other out but we have to be real with each other.”
Defeat left United in sixth spot, three points behind fourth-placed Chelsea, who they face this weekend.
“Forget the top four and the Champions League. We have to get to the bottom of it and start playing like Manchester United for ourselves,” Rashford said.
Former Manchester United captain Roy Keane, analysing the game for Sky Sports, said United lacked leaders on the pitch.
“They are really low on confidence and were up against a really good team tonight,” he said. “There is a long way back for them. We spoke about leaders and characters, I just don’t think they have enough of them.
“When I played the United team was full of leaders. They have talented players but who is going to lead them through this tough period. There is no quick fix.”
Solskjaer won 10 of his first 11 games in charge, but has won only two of seven since being made permanent manager on March 28.
“The honeymoon period is definitely over,” Keane said. “It’s probably a bigger job than what he thought.
“The club has to back Ole now and let him this summer bring in the players he wants to turn these problems around.”
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Toby Davis)