Manchester United’s players need to “look in the mirror” because they are “not at the same level” as their Manchester City counterparts, says midfielder Bruno Fernandes.
The gulf in class was clear as City cruised to a comfortable 2-0 derby win at Old Trafford.
A fourth Premier League defeat in six games also increased pressure on boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his players.
“We have to speak less and do more,” Fernandes told Sky Sports.
“I am saying the same stuff. We have to change because this has happened many, many times already. What we did was not enough.”
Pep Guardiola’s side controlled possession, seeing 68% of the ball, but they also covered more ground and carried out significantly more sprints than their opponents.
It continues a theme of United’s players being found wanting against opposition that work hard in and out of possession.
“If we want to be at the same level as them we have to do more because they showed we are not at the same level,” Fernandes added.
“Everyone has to look at themselves. You have to look in the mirror at what you are doing wrong. You cannot change the mentality of anyone else, you have to look at yourself and understand what you can do better.”
‘We have to come out like a hurt animal’
A heavy loss at Leicester, coupled with successive Premier league defeats against two of the United’s biggest historical rivals have intensified pressure on both Solskjaer and his underperforming players.
While Saturday’s reverse to City was not on the scale of the humiliating result against Liverpool, United’s last home victory was against Newcastle on 11 September.
“It’s very disappointing. Last week it felt like we made a step forward, this is a big step backwards,” Solskjaer said, referring to their 3-0 win at Tottenham.
“It is a way of losing we don’t like. You want to see a better Man Utd than that. We have had a four-week period where we have been disappointing. We want to be on the front foot and we want to be aggressive. This was a big step back.
“Players are human beings. When you lose a game there is nothing better than winning a game. We have to come out against Watford like a proper, hurt animal. The international break has come at a good time for us.”
‘United are so awful’ – what they said
Former Manchester United captain Roy Keane, speaking to Sky Sports: “The difference in class, quality, decision making, everything. It was men against boys. United are so awful it’s unbelievable. Phil Foden said it’s a tough place to come. It’s not. Ask Everton, ask Aston Villa, ask Liverpool. Ole has to take responsibility. I’ve defended him. They need to get more out of these players. Some of them just aren’t up to playing for Manchester United.”
Five-time Manchester United Premier League winner Peter Schmeichel, speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live: “Something is clearly missing. The disappointment is the players don’t have the ability to adjust to what they are up against.”
Former Liverpool defender Stephen Warnock, speaking to 5 Live: “I think Ole is their man, but five goals against Liverpool and two against Manchester City isn’t good enough. I thought they were poor again. At the moment, they don’t look like they know what they’re doing.”
Ex-Liverpool and Tottenham midfielder Danny Murphy, speaking to 5 Live: “You have to question the application, the work ethic. Is it equal to Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea? In the last few weeks, you have to say no. There’s a lack of confidence. Playing at Old Trafford now, they’re fearful. They don’t want to get on the ball because they’re scared they’ll make mistakes.”
Former Liverpool and Scotland midfielder Graeme Souness, speaking to Sky Sports: “It’s a wake-up call for United. It was a shock to the system against Liverpool and this is another one. It’s another reminder how far United are away from the team they want to be.”