• The 48 league goals United have now conceded is the most of any season in 40 years.
• Everton ran 8.03 kilometres further than their visitors at Goodison Park.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer spent a full six seconds deliberating how best to answer whether these Manchester United players care enough.
“I don’t know,” he replied with a resigned puff of the cheeks and shake of the head. “I don’t know. You’ve got to ask them. I’ve asked them. You’re not going to get the answer from me but if you want to play for this club, it has to mean more.”
Solskjaer visibly shrunk in his chair after one of United’s worst days of their continued malaise since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement. Even one of the Premier League’s brightest, openly-optimistic managers refused to offer any sort of positivity.
The Norwegian — who has now lost six of his last eight matches — said sorry to the club’s travelling fans at full-time, walking over to salute their unwavering support, and followed that up with a formal apology.
“We have got to apologise to the fans because they were absolutely fantastic,” he said. “That performance is not good enough for a Manchester United team, from me down to players. We let the fans down, we let the club down. That performance is difficult to describe because it was so bad.”
The 48 league goals United have now conceded is the most of any season in 40 years and, more gallingly for Solskjaer, his players are being out-run and out-fought.
Everton ran 8.03 kilometres further than their visitors at Goodison Park and United have covered less ground than 15 of their 17 league opponents under Solskjaer.
“They beat us with the basics,” he rued. “Long throw-ins, stick your head in. Their corner, they’re first to the ball. We were beaten on all the things, the ingredients that you need to add to your talent. There is no place you can hide on the pitch. It was 85 minutes before we had a shot on target. It’s not good enough.”
“The basic ingredient in a team performance is that desire. We know our fitness is nowhere near good enough. I can’t wait to get a pre-season done. It is not a surprise to hear that Everton have run more than us. Fitness is nothing to do with talent.”
“But it is not just about running, it is about decisions, put your head in where it hurts. It hurts to win football matches. We were far off Everton. They deserve all the credit.”