Man United 'by far not good enough' as defeat to Crystal Palace rocks European hopes

United in danger of their worst Premier League finish after a 4-0 defeat at Selhurst Park on Monday

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Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag conceded his team is "underperforming" and the performance at Crystal Palace was "by far not good enough" as a 4-0 defeat left their hopes of playing European football next season hanging by a thread.

Palace completed a first Premier League double over United in style as Michael Olise scored twice, while Jean-Philippe Mateta and Tyrick Mitchell were also on target for the in-form Eagles.

Defeat left Ten Hag's men eighth in the table and at risk of both their worst Premier League finish and missing out on European competition next season.

With sixth-placed Newcastle in strong form and Chelsea, in seventh, belatedly clicking after a season of inconsistency, United face an uphill struggle to even qualify for the Europa Conference League.

Only three matches ago, United were in sixth and on course for the Europa League, but a run of one win, three defeats and four draws in their last eight games has seen Ten Hag's side slump at the worst time.

The Dutchman's future is in doubt with structural change ongoing at Old Trafford since British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe bought a minority stake and took sporting control of the club earlier this year.

"It's clear and it's obvious, this is under-performing," said Ten Hag. "We didn't act how we want to do it and this is by far not good enough. We are very disappointed. You have to stick together. You have to take responsibility."

The United manager was quick to highlight his squad's mounting injury crisis.

Captain Bruno Fernandes missed a club game through injury for the first time in his career, while England international duo Marcus Rashford and Harry Maguire were also absent.

The makeshift centre-back pairing of Casemiro and Jonny Evans were torn apart by Palace's pace and invention.

"If we have the right players available we have a good squad but we miss almost the whole back-line and then we have problems," Ten Hag said.

"I will keep fighting and I prepared the team in the best way I could do. It was not good enough, by far not good enough, so I have to take the responsibility for that but I will find the energy and I will prepare them for Sunday."

Worse could still be to come for Ten Hag when title-chasing Arsenal visit Old Trafford at the weekend. United have never failed to finish in the top seven in the Premier League era and must do so or beat Manchester City in the FA Cup final to qualify for Europe.

But the embarrassing scoreline at Selhurst Park is not unprecedented during Ten Hag's reign. United lost 4-0 at Brentford, 7-0 to Liverpool and 6-3 away to Manchester City during his first season in charge.

This season they have conceded 81 goals in all competitions, the club's worst tally since 1976/77.

After disappointing early exits from both the Champions League and League Cup, an FA Cup run has offered Ten Hag some relief. But they booked their place in a second consecutive final only by surviving a penalty shoot-out against second-tier Coventry after blowing a 3-0 lead to draw 3-3.

"We still have nine points to play [for] and we have to fight for the nine points," Ten Hag said. "We have to put it right on Sunday. We have to learn from this game and improve.”

While a crisis is engulfing United, Crystal Palace have been revived since the arrival of manager Oliver Glasner in February, winning four of their last five matches.

“Congratulations – but always stay humble," Glasner said. "We know it is not so long ago where we struggled with relegation, just five points away, but now we've found ourselves and the players have confidence. That is what we want to read. We are doing well, but we still have a lot to improve.”

Updated: May 07, 2024, 4:40 AM