Jonny Evans says Manchester United have to move on from their derby disappointment and believes injuries have played a part in Erik ten Hag’s second season struggles.
A promising first campaign under the Dutchman has been forgotten as a challenging start to this term continued with Sunday’s humbling at home to Manchester City.
Erling Haaland’s brace and a late Phil Foden goal sealed City a derby victory at Old Trafford that was more one-sided than even the 3-0 scoreline suggested.
Outclassed, outthought and outmanoeuvred for the most part, it was an embarrassing end to the Red Devils’ admittedly unconvincing three-match winning run in all competitions.
“It’s never easy – everyone’s disappointed,” said experienced defender Evans, who was frustrated by the decision to award a first-half penalty for Rasmus Hojlund’s tug on Rodri.
“You wish you could turn back the clock, but you know we’ve got to move on now.
“We’re disappointed obviously. We put a lot into the second half to get back and you know 2-0, maybe the chance with Rashy (Marcus Rashford) we sort of get back in it.
“But you know (it’s) probably disappointing that we didn’t create too much in the second half.”
Sunday’s defeat means United have lost five of their opening 10 league games, leaving them 11 points behind leaders Tottenham and Evans believes that absentees are a mitigating factor.
United boss Ten Hag has had deal with a swathe of injuries, with Casemiro, Lisandro Martinez, Luke Shaw, Tyrell Malacia, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Amad Diallo ruled out of the derby.
Four of those played key roles in February’s Carabao Cup triumph against Newcastle, who head to Old Trafford in the fourth round on Wednesday as the holders look to bounce back from Sunday’s City humiliation.
“At this club that’s what it’s all about, you’ve got to (move on),” defender Evans, who returned to the club in the summer, told MUTV.
“We’ll be preparing for the next game now and making sure preparations are ready.
“I think we’ve been disrupted with a lot of injuries this season in terms of key personnel.
“Probably a lot of our starting players would be, you know, they’re missing.
“I think the manager’s found out difficulties having to sort of work on team, on tactics and having to change the personnel quite a lot with only two days in between games.
“So that’s been difficult, hopefully we can get more players back and get a real sort of opportunity to create freshness within the playing squad.”
City lost at Newcastle in the previous round, so Pep Guardiola’s side get a rare midweek off before hosting Bournemouth in the Premier League on Saturday.
Haaland will be expected to add to this season’s 13-goal haul when the Cherries come to town, fresh from using Old Trafford taunts to fuel his brace and assist on Sunday.
“The performance was incredible,” the striker told the club website.
“Fantastic from every single player. Fantastic from every Manchester City player. It was fantastic.
“I think we performed throughout the 90 minutes, every single minute.
“We controlled the whole game. Big shoutout to everyone. I’m happy to play in this team.”