ERIK TEN HAG wants his flops to take their anger over a cancelled day off out on Liverpool tonight.
Manchester United’s new boss hauled his underperforming stars in for brutal extra training in the baking heat last Sunday following their humiliating 4-0 defeat at Brentford.
Many were fuming at having their day off ruined — but Ten Hag hopes it fired up Bruno Fernandes and Co.
The Dutchman said: “I hope they are angry, but angry with themselves, angry with each other that they didn’t take responsibility.
“When I say it’s not acceptable, you can’t deliver that for yourself, for the team and for all the fans of Man United.”
Ten Hag decided during a shocking first half which saw them go 4-0 down inside 35 minutes that there would be repercussions.
The loss left United 19th in the Prem ahead of tonight’s visit of Jurgen Klopp’s side.
Ten Hag said: “I took the decision on Saturday during the game, when I saw the performance.
“That is not the standard for Man United — and it’s not my standard. We had to change that.
“I had to face the players, remind them that we don’t accept this. Tell them the attitude is not right.
“It’s your obligation to fight for the team and give 100 per cent.”
The hammering at Brentford followed a 2-1 home defeat to Brighton in their opener — with United only moving off the bottom yesterday thanks to West Ham losing.
Doubts already growing about the new dawn under their new boss.
But Ten Hag has promised fed-up Manchester United fans that he will turn things around.
He added: “I’m not here for myself — I’m here for the club and to restore the club.
“I knew before coming that this is a challenge and I wanted this challenge.
“I knew before it was going to be hard but I wanted that because in my career everywhere I started, it was difficult.
“But I got it done and I’m convinced that I will get it done here as well.
“Therefore, I just choose this project. I know it’s a process and I will stay consistent to the philosophy and to the plan we had.
“I’ll keep confidence in the cooperation I have in the players and also the team around, the coaches and the directors.”
And Ten Hag admits he also has to take responsibility for their awful start to the season.
He said: “Don’t get me wrong, when I talk about the players, and I want to emphasise that, I’m in the same boat as well.
“When we are not in the right attitude, I’m not either. We win together, we lose together.”
Ten Hag revealed he has a core group of players he relies on to be leaders on the pitch and warned they need to stand up and be counted.
He said: “When the attitude is no good from the team, often the leaders are not there as they are the ones who give the example.
“That is a point that we have to work on here.
I knew before coming that this is a challenge and I wanted this challenge.
Erik ten Hag
“I work always with a group of leaders, not one in particular. I spoke with the leaders at United about this issue.
“It doesn’t have to be senior players but we have a core group who must be an example and take responsibility.”
The performances, particularly that shocker at Brentford, have come as a surprise to taskmaster Ten Hag because he could not see any signs of it coming during a decent pre-season.
They won three and drew one on their tour of Bangkok and Australia before losing against Atletico Madrid in Oslo and drawing with Rayo Vallecano at Old Trafford.
Ten Hag said: “Pre-season we did quite well — but the first two league games were not good enough, that’s clear.
“This is the first time since June 27 I was not happy and not satisfied and I told them.
“We are now in a process, sometimes you have a drop and you tell them, you face them, and say ‘That’s unacceptable’.
“It’s a signal, we don’t have to make it bigger. I think it’s now a really big story — but that’s not necessary because, again, it’s the first occasion it happened.
“You see the potential of this United team in pre-season, so now we have to work together to get the good performances back on the pitch.”
The problem is the Red Devils players have looked bereft of any confidence since returning to Premier League action.
The prospect of playing at Old Trafford now fills them with more fear than their opponents.
But Ten Hag said: “It’s not necessary as we have good players and a good team if they do what they have to do.
“In football, it’s not always working as planned because you have to face an opponent.
“But if you work hard and stick to the plan, the result will come.”
Ten Hag has been boosted by the imminent arrival of Real Madrid defensive midfielder Casemiro for an initial £60million — his fourth new signing so far this summer.
Yet £48.3m defensive recruit Lisandro Martinez is already getting flak, with the Argentine’s 5ft 9in height being highlighted as a major weakness.
The centre-back was hauled off at the break at Brentford.
But Ten Hag said: “He won his aerial duels, his challenges, he was good in the passing but he also made mistakes — as the whole team did. I could have swapped 11 players.”
He has to hope he is not faced with that prospect tonight or it could be another tough day back at Carrington tomorrow.