Ralf Rangnick has insisted that media talk regarding the uncertain future of the club is no excuse for the consistently poor performances that Manchester United are turning in.
The Red Devils were held to a 1-1 draw by Leicester last week and were woeful in their 1-0 loss at Everton on Saturday.
United started brightly on Merseyside but responded dreadfully to Anthony Gordon’s deflected opener, failing to carve out any chance of note from that point onward.
Speaking post-game at Goodison Park, interim boss Rangnick said his players lost their nerve at a critical time.
“If you don’t score a single goal in 95 minutes, we have to be disappointed,” he told BT Sport.
“I thought we had a good start to the game, we had control over the game in the first 25 minutes, we should have created more opportunities and chances ourselves out of that domination. And then we conceded a deflected shot, after that we lost a little bit of our composure and our stride.
“Second half we were trying to add more creativity and verticality with our substitutions but didn’t always find or choose the right moment or decision.
“It was important to score the first goal ourselves and this should have happened in the first half hour.”
Rangnick threw on Juan Mata for his first Premier League appearance of the season midway through the second half as United went in search of a goal and was asked to explain this change.
“We had to do something because we needed a goal and I decided we needed more creativity in midfield and more verticality with Anthony Elanga, but obviously they were defending with all their outfield players in the last 35 or 40 minutes, and we didn’t find the right player at the right moment. We didn’t always have players in the box when we played crosses into the box,” he added.
Rangnick looks set to be replaced by Ajax boss Erik ten Hag in the dugout in time for next season, while several players have been heavily linked with moves to Old Trafford in recent weeks amid talks of a squad rebuild.
But the German said that outside talk should not have a major impact on performances.
“I don’t think this should be an excuse for anybody. We are Manchester United, all the players, we have a lot of internationals, this cannot be an alibi or excuse to anybody,” Rangnick said.
“We cannot be distracted by that. There will be a new manager next season and if this is being announced now or in 10 or 14 or 20 days, it should have no effect on this game today.
“We are dependent on other results but as long as we don’t win our own games we will never have good results from the other teams. The only thing we can do is stick together. We now have Fred injured along with Scott McTominay, so both defensive [number] sixes might be injured and hopefully not for too long. That’s all we can do.”