Chris Smalling wants Manchester United to start rewarding the travelling fans and knows defeat to FC Midtjylland was unacceptable.
Goals from Pione Sisto and Paul Onuacha at the MCH Arena gave the Danish club the upper hand in the first-leg of the Europa League.
Louis van Gaal‘s side have now only won eight of their last 25 games in all competitions and the pressure is mounting on the Dutchman’s future at Old Trafford.
Speaking after the game, Smalling admits Man united only have themselves to blame for the result.
“It was a performance that wasn’t acceptable,” the 26-year-old told MUTV.
“We need to start rewarding these fans who travel this far and give us great support throughout the whole game. I think we all know that it wasn’t good enough.
“Conceding before half time didn’t help, we didn’t really kick on with that belief in the second half, and I think we lost far too many tackles and a lot of second balls.
“I think in these games when you play teams that are lesser than Manchester United, you need to win your tackles and second balls. When you don’t do that, then it is an even playing field on the pitch. So I think that we’ve only got ourselves to blame for the result.”
The Reds were dealt a blow before kick-off when David De Gea suffered a knee injury during the warm-up, but Smalling believes that United should have avoided defeat despite the absence of their goalkeeper.
He added: “He is obviously the main focus of our plans, but we can’t blame that injury or the previous injuries on our performance tonight.
“We saw that Midtjylland pressed high, as a team they worked very hard and I think we just didn’t match that. I think the aggression wasn’t there in the second-half, and we paid the price in the end.”
Talk is cheap now from United’s players. On so many different occasions after separate miserable losses we’ve heard the players say that they need to respond, to repay the fans but we’ve got no further forward at all.
After defeat to Midtjylland we’ve reached a new low point and you’d expect a response in the face of that adversity from the players. However, having seen no response after going out to Wolfsburg, losing to Bournemouth, losing to Norwich or Stoke, it’s about time United’s players actually followed up on their battle cries rather than limping into the following game.