Erik ten Hag admits Manchester United’s levels have slipped since their EFL Cup win last season, a situation he describes as “not acceptable”.
United claimed their first silverware in six years by beating Newcastle at Wembley in February but have struggled since, losing the final of the FA Cup to Manchester City, suffering a 5-2 aggregate defeat to Sevilla in the Europa League quarter-finals and failing to string together a consistent run in the Premier League.
“We have dropped our levels and we have to get back to them,” said the under-pressure Dutchman.
“There are reasons for that, but still it’s not acceptable and we have to fight against it.
“We have a good foundation for the way we play, we have rules and principles and when they [the players] help and support each other, we will play better.”
United will hope to get their season back on track when they host Brentford tomorrow following back-to-back Old Trafford defeats to Crystal Palace and Galatasaray.
Ten Hag, whose side are 10th in the Premier League, is looking for more consistency from his players.
“That is the problem we are struggling with,” he added. “In parts of the games, in big parts, we do a lot of things right but we have moments where we struggle and in those moments we can’t survive.
“We need to do the right things, be consistent. We have to step up.
“We’ve spoken about it, how we can improve. There is more than one factor, concentration is one, but there are other things.”
United’s current struggles are typified by England striker Marcus Rashford, who has not scored in his last eight games for club and country.
Ten Hag says Rashford has his full support and has backed him to regain his touch in front of goal.
“It’s normal to not always be at the same level,” said the former Ajax boss.
“Everyone knows his quality but if Rashy is doing things right, and the team is doing things right, putting him in the right places, then it’s up to him. We have seen in the last few weeks, he’s getting into good positions and is struggling but this will pass because he has quality.
“Everyone at Manchester United backs him, the whole team is supportive of him and believes in him so I am confident with this belief that this [situation] will pass.”