Date published: Monday 7th October 2019 1:08
Manchester United defender Axel Tuanzebe says Newcastle only scored from “a counter when we weren’t really there”.
The 21-year-old, who started the 1-0 defeat on Tyneside as a centre-back, says United need to “go back to the drawing board” after Sunday’s chastening loss.
The opening-day victory against Chelsea proved a false dawn for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, whose side have won just once since then in the Premier League and fell to a 1-0 defeat to Steve Bruce’s embattled side at St James’ Park ahead of the international break.
Manchester United are enduring their worst start to a league campaign in 30 years, leaving goalkeeper David De Gea at a loss to explain the “unacceptable” situation.
The Spain goalkeeper called it the most difficult period of his Old Trafford career and team-mate Tuanzebe tried to explain the defeat, albeit with some rather naive comments.
“You can see we shut them (Newcastle) out for a long period of time,” the defender said.
“The only way they were able to score was a counter when we weren’t really there.
“The goal, it is what it is – a 20-yard shot. It wasn’t like they played through us or anything like that.
“We go back to the drawing board. The international break (is) now time for us to regroup. We believe in what we’re doing, in time it will come.
“Now it’s just that tough phase. The next game we look forward to is Liverpool. We definitely want to get a result in that game.
“It’s always a big game. Through my academy stages, Liverpool is a must-win. It’s a brutal game. It wasn’t a tippy-tappy game, no matter what age group.
“Obviously coming here to the first team, I expect more of the same. It will be a game where we need to grind it out and stick together and produce a result.”
Liverpool will be a huge challenge for Solskjaer’s side, and one which the Norwegian says will be “perfect” for his under-fire side.
Top of the table and 15 points ahead of United after just eight matches, Jurgen Klopp’s men will head to Old Trafford looking for a record-equalling 18th successive Premier League win.
Solskjaer will be hoping his injury issues ease ahead of that match, given Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial, Jesse Lingard, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof and Luke Shaw were ruled out at Newcastle.
“Obviously, we’re waiting for players to come back and that will be a positive to strengthen the squad again,” Tuanzebe told MUTV.
“(It) gives us time to reflect and build on our game because again we’re having a lot of possession, but we need to have that penetration in the final third (to) give us chances to win games.”