Former Manchester United left-back Patrice Evra confronted Erik ten Hag last night about his ‘excuses’ for his team’s poor showings over the past few weeks.
The Red Devils recovered from their dismal 1-0 defeat to Newcastle by beating Chelsea 1-0 at Old Trafford. It was a significantly better performance, which begs the question – where has that been all season?
A Scott McTominay brace secured all three points for Ten Hag’s team – which has relieved some pressure on the under-fire manager.
The win leaves Man Utd in sixth place in the Premier League table, just three points behind fourth-placed rivals Manchester City.
Speaking after the game, Ten Hag suggested that his side’s European commitments had led to their performance at St James’ Park.
Evra was not convinced, however, having seen a much better performance from Man Utd against Chelsea.
“I know you’re protecting your players but we really feel again Newcastle – Newcastle are also playing in the Champions League against PSG,” Evra told Ten Hag, speaking on Amazon Prime Sport.
“So I think saying they were a little bit tired is not an excuse and tonight and I’m sorry and I know you won’t comment about it but the players that were on the pitch all of them were like dying for the badge. They were playing as a team.
“I think the start today was a team. It wasn’t one player even if McTominay wins man-of-the-match.
“But I just saw the starting XI, they were the players and were like determined to win and forgive what happened against Newcastle.”
Ten Hag denied that his players weren’t giving their all against Newcastle, however, insisting that Man Utd’s packed fixture schedule can and does have an impact on performances.
“I can give always reasons but they are never excuses so it doesn’t matter. You are talking about performance every time again from Newcastle,” Ten Hag replied.
“We play in that week, three games, two very good games. But then I know we played on Saturday, Newcastle on Sunday. We played on Wednesday, they played on Tuesday. We came back from Istanbul, we have to go away.
“There are always reasons why but that’s still not an excuse to play like we did in Newcastle, definitely not. We can’t take that excuse.
“We have to perform every time for our fans, every time we have to give our best because good is not good enough, you have to do better.”