Robin van Persie says Man Utd broke Sir Alex Ferguson’s golden rule to not run “less than the opponent” in their 2-1 loss to Istanbul Basaksehir.
With the stuttering Red Devils sat 15th in the Premier League, their impressive return to European football’s top table has provided much-needed positivity.
Man Utd followed their deserved 2-1 victory at last season’s Champions League finalists Paris St Germain by stunning RB Leipzig 5-0, but it does not take long for pressure to ratchet up at Old Trafford.
And their poor performance in their loss in Istanbul has seen increased pressure on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Van Persie claims Man Utd failed to show the “urgency to commit” that would’ve been unacceptable in Ferguson’s time at Old Trafford.
“They missed the urgency to commit,” Van Persie told BT Sport. “In my time at Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson said: ‘I don’t mind losing as long as my team is not running less than the opponent and I want to see commitment going forward and as well defensively’.
“I’m pretty sure Basaksehir ran more than Manchester United. That should never be the case in any game. That has nothing to do with quality or abilities. That’s extra. You need to commit, to be there with 100 per cent focus.”
The Turkish champions went ahead in the 13th minute when Ba found himself given the freedom to collect a long ball and run from the halfway line before slotting past Dean Henderson.
Captain Edin Visca added a second five minutes ahead of the interval after Deniz Turuc had robbed Juan Mata to break down the left.
Although Anthony Martial reduced the deficit before half-time, the home side – with former Man Utd defender Rafael in the backline – remained resolute to record a memorable victory.
On conceding first goal, Van Persie added: “I’ve never seen a goal conceded like that first goal, usually you leave two defenders at the back.”