Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has admitted his side have a mentality problem following their shock Europa League exit against Sevilla.
Both sides played out a thrilling 2-2 stalemate in the quarter-final first-leg meeting at Old Trafford, with Man United squandering a two-goal lead as Sevilla fought back to earn a draw.
The Red Devils then suffered a humbling 3-0 defeat against the La Liga strugglers in the second-leg encounter, which saw them bow out of the tournament 5-2 on aggregate.
Ten Hag could not hide his disappointment at the result, but his side have no time to lick their wounds with another crunch meeting against Brighton & Hove Albion in the FA Cup semi-finals on the horizon.
When asked whether the Man United squad has a mentality issue, the Dutch tactician replied (via The Athletic): “We can’t deny it – it’s mental, definitely. We have to learn that you keep going, you carry on.
“This team, what they can do very well is bounce back in between games. What they can do less is bounce back during a game to a setback. That is what we have to improve.”
Goals from Youssef En-Nesyri (2) and Loic Bade dumped Man United out of Europe, but the opening goal was arguably Harry Maguire’s fault.
The England international has only played a bit-part role this term, with Ten Hag favouring the partnership of Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez.
However, the former Leicester City man has started Man United’s last two games with Varane and Martinez injured, but his return to the fold has been shrouded by criticism.
Despite his performance in Spain, manager Ten Hag backed the Man United captain saying the centre-back is an important part of his squad.
“He (Maguire) has an important role – he is the captain,” Ten Hag added. “He leads, he communicates with the manager, motivates the team. He’s the example in the training pitch, always good sessions.”
Man United still have a chance of winning another trophy this season, with a place in the FA Cup final up for grabs in Sunday’s showdown.
However, the Red Devils must shake off their embarrassing slump in Spain and bring their ‘A’ game against an in-form Brighton side.