Christian Eriksen believes Sevilla’s high press was a key factor in Manchester United’s Europa League implosion as Erik ten Hag’s side went down 3-0 in Spain on Thursday night.
During a season of undeniable progress under the former Ajax boss, Ten Hag still has a long way to go if he is to find a solution to Man United’s damaging penchant for self-flagellation.
This was not the first time Ten Hag’s side had crumbled in a feverish atmosphere. There were shades of Anfield in the way Man United performed – and the word ‘performed’ is doing a lot of heavy lifting there – at a raucous Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.
While Harry Maguire and David de Gea will cop most of the criticism, and rightly so, even the reliable Eriksen endured an evening he’ll wish he could erase from his memory.
If you ever run into Tommy Lee Jones, don’t forget to borrow his neuralyzer.
Manchester United lose 3-0 to Sevilla in Europa League quarter-final
“I think we lost a bit of our coolness in the build-up,” Eriksen tells the Man United website; attempting to make sense of a display which was a world away from Sunday’s highly-impressive 2-0 win at Nottingham Forest.
“They (Sevilla) went high pressure. We didn’t really do well with that. I think we made more mistakes than we normally do.”
It’s hard to believe there was a moment when United were 2-0 up and cruising in the tie. And, while Jose Luis Mendilibar’s side deserve credit for the way they rattled the visitors out of their rhythm, the frustration remains that every single one of Sevilla’s five goals belong very much in the ‘avoidable’ category.
“When you play like today and give the chances away you do, then you’re going to lose,” Eriksen adds.
“In the first game, we felt in control until the 80-something minute. But it’s football. If you don’t want to take your chances, then you’re going to be punished in the end.”
“We have to face that we let ourselves down and we let the fans down,” Ten Hag explains.
“If you want to win trophies, if you want to be successful, you need all of the character. Against Forest, we were composed. We had the desire. Today, we didn’t.
“You can expect from a player at Manchester United that they do it (perform) consistently. Now isn’t too often but, we have a really poor performance. And it can’t be.”