Publication:

The Mail on Sunday - 2021-11-21

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De Gea: We don’t know what to do with the ball

United In Crisis

By Stephen Davies

DAVID DE GEA tore into his United team-mates following the ‘embarrassing’ 4-1 demolition at Watford which left Ole Gunnar Solskjaer facing the sack. De Gea, whose two first-half penalty saves spared his side more humiliation, turned on United’s under-performing stars, branding the performance a ‘nightmare after nightmare.’ And he then made the damning admission that Cristiano Ronaldo and Co do not know what to do with the ball. ‘There’s not much to say — it was embarrassing to see Man United play like we did,’ said De Gea. United, who had England defender Harry Maguire sent off in this Vicarage Road mauling, have now lost five of their last seven Premier League matches and dropped to seventh in the table, 12 points behind leaders Chelsea. Solskjaer was met with a volley of boos and abuse as he went to apologise to fans on the final whistle, but De Gea said the players are to blame for a defeat which may well spell the end for the manager. ‘It’s not acceptable, the way we were playing and doing things,’ added De Gea. ‘It’s easy to blame the manager or the staff but sometimes it’s the players. ‘We need to show much more than we are doing. Embarrassing first half — we could have conceded four goals in 45 minutes. ‘It was hard to watch the team playing today — it was nightmare after nightmare after nightmare. It’s not acceptable. ‘I have been in difficult moments with this club but we are in a difficult situation — we don’t know what to do with the ball. It’s a horrible moment. We are trying to give our best and fight for the team but for sure something is very wrong. You can see in the games — it’s very low level, very poor. Sorry to the fans, once again. ‘There are difficult moments and we have to be strong in mind and body. We are paid to play for United and to do better than that. This is not Manchester United or the way we ought to play — it’s difficult to say more than that.’ They have won only three of their last 11 games and De Gea admits the rot set in a long time ago. ‘It’s been very bad for a long time,’ he said. ‘A club like Man United, we have to be fighting for trophies and fighting for big things and to be honest we are far from that. We have to look at ourselves and see how we can improve. It’s hard to be in the dressing room now — we are sad, we are angry. I’m hurt.’ Bruno Fernandes also leaped to Solskjaer’s defence after the Vicarage Road horror show. Fernandes, who had gestured angrily to United fans at the final whistle when they turned on the Norwegian, said: ‘It’s everyone’s fault here. ‘The attitude in the second half was there, in the first half it was too sloppy. We don’t go on the front foot, we don’t tackle, we don’t win our duels and against these teams you have to keep the same intensity. Then you show your quality and why you play for Man United.’ MANCHESTER City’s all-time top scorer Sergio Aguero will announce his retirement next week. The 33-year-old had indicated that a definitive decision would not be made over his heart condition until next February. But ahead of Barcelona’s game with Espanyol last night, Catalan journalist Gerard Romero claimed Aguero would confirm his career was over in the next few days. Sources close to the player indicated there was a real possibility Aguero would not play again. Aguero had to come off before half-time in a home game at the end of October with chest discomfort, and was subsequently diagnosed with heart arrhythmia.

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