Harry Maguire says Manchester United’s players cannot afford to sulk and must get their title push back on track at Arsenal on Saturday.
United’s 13-match unbeaten run in the Premier League came to an end with Wednesday’s shock 2-1 defeat at home to bottom club Sheffield United.
Defeat prevented United from going back to the top of the table, with local rivals Manchester City now a point clear with a game in hand.
Skipper Maguire admitted United did not deserve anything from the game, but said Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s players must put the disappointment behind them and regroup immediately.
“Not good enough,” said Maguire. “We didn’t perform to a level we’ve been playing at.
“But when you do get a defeat, there’s nothing worse than waiting to get back out on the pitch to play and put things right.
“We’ve got to pick ourselves up. We are disappointed and it hurts, but Saturday is a big game and we’ve got to bounce back.
“It’s all good and easy when you’re winning football matches and you’re playing well, but now it’s time to stand up and be counted.
“When you get kicked down, it’s how quickly you bounce back and Saturday’s a big one and we’ve got to get three points.”
United’s defeat exposed their underlying weaknesses, despite the undoubted progress made this season, which propelled them up the table after a difficult start.
Solskjaer made unnecessary changes to his starting line-up, particularly in defence, believing he could get away with it against the Blades, given their lowly position this term.
But defeat showed his squad lacks the depth of quality for him to make such changes, while up front the decision to play Anthony Martial ahead of Edinson Cavani was another error.
Without Cavani, United were robbed of his pressing and work ethic in attack, with Martial failing to show those qualities and losing possession cheaply in the move that led to the winner.
The midfield, without Scott McTominay and Fred, both of whom are likely to be recalled tomorrow, lacked energy, while David De Gea’s mistakes for both goals endorsed Dean Henderson’s case to be given a run, although Solskjaer is unlikely to make such a big call.
De Gea, speaking before United’s defeat, admitted there is little margin for error this season, in words that may come back to haunt him if his unconvincing form continues.
“You cannot make mistakes,” said De Gea. “You have to be 100 per cent in every game.
“You cannot miss chances to win games. If you have a chance, you have to win.
“In the Premier League, every game is difficult, it doesn’t matter if it’s the top team in the league or the bottom one.”