Luke Shaw called for more intensity, commitment and togetherness after star-studded Manchester United fell to a deserved home defeat to Wolves.
Ralf Rangnick’s unbeaten start to life as interim manager came to a shuddering halt on Monday evening as 2022 began with a meek Old Trafford display.
Wolves managed 15 shots in a one-sided first half and continued to threaten after the break, with Joao Moutinho striking late on to seal a notable 1-0 victory.
Shaw said United’s performance was as disappointing as the result on an evening when they were outfought and outthought.
Asked if adjusting to Rangnick was part of the reason for the poor display, the left-back told Sky Sports: “I’m not sure. I don’t think you can put it on that.
“Look, us players, we’ve been here for a long time. We’ve played at home, we know what it’s like when we have the intensity, you can feel the motivation is there.
“But I think maybe tonight we struggled. I didn’t feel when I was on the pitch that we were all there together. We felt like we were struggling and it was tough.”
Shaw made a point of praising “exceptional” Phil Jones following his impressive return from nearly two years out but knows the team must do better as a unit.
“It’s tough,” he said. “I think you look at our squad, you look at our team, the players we have — we have unbelievable quality, we have great quality.
“Sometimes quality isn’t enough. Like I said, we need to bring the intensity, we need to bring being more aggressive and we need to bring more motivation.
“Maybe from the outside today, it didn’t look like we had any of those three, but inside the dressing room, we know we want to win. We know what we want.
“But when we step out on that pitch, we need to give 100 per cent. Everything we’ve got.
“I’m not saying not everyone did, but I think to win these types of games against a tough team like Wolves, we all need to be 100 per cent committed because we know it’s always close games whoever they play.
“It’s just tough and disappointing, but we have time now to refocus back.
“We’ve got a long training week and maybe the manager can bring some more ideas what he wants on the pitch.”
Rangnick certainly has work to do if he is to bring control and consistency to the side, admitting Wolves were the better team.
“I knew that it would be a difficult job,” said the interim United boss, whose decision to take off Mason Greenwood was jeered by some fans.
“That was also the reason why they contacted me and signed me.
“So, I knew from the start that it would not be an easy job to find the best possible balance with regards to the players we have offensively and defensively.
“It was important for me to make sure we don’t concede that many goals.
“But again today, against a good team, one of the better teams in possession of the ball and on the other hand, not an easy team to create chances [against] ourselves, it still showed we are struggling, that we have quite a few steps to take.”
Having survived a Wolves onslaught in the first half, substitute Bruno Fernandes struck the crossbar and Cristiano Ronaldo saw a goal ruled out for offside after the break.
Romain Saiss hit the crossbar from a free-kick before Moutinho sent the travelling hordes wild as Wolves secured their first Old Trafford win since 1980.
“It’s one more victory,” manager Bruno Lage said. “It’s a lovely stadium, a place with a lot of history, but the most important thing is the way we played this game against this team.
“One more time, we prepared very well for the game, I gave a lot of confidence to my players to come to play in our way.
“First half, I think it was very good. We controlled everything and created a lot of chances, but we didn’t score.
“Second half, they adapted, changed their system, and also us.
“After, we changed some guys and the guys who came inside helped us to win this game.
“Even now, three points, one goal, we had more chances than goals, so we need to continue to work, every time it’s like that.”