Peter Schmeichel was left ‘disappointed’ that Erik ten Hag didn’t make half-time changes prior to his Manchester United side capitulating in Sunday’s 7-0 hiding at Liverpool.
The legendary United goalkeeper said it was clear Ten Hag’s game plan wasn’t working with Wout Weghorst struggling in the No 10 role and Antony ineffective.
Schmeichel also attributed the frustrations of captain Bruno Fernandes to the Portuguese no longer knowing his position in the side, having been shifted from No 10 out wide.
Trailing only 1-0 at the break, United collapsed after half-time to concede six further goals in an error-strewn performance, with the final scoreline equalling their worst-ever defeat.
‘I was quite alright at half-time because we have been behind before, we’ve had a team talk and Ten Hag has made a few changes and then the second halves have been different,’ Schmeichel said on BBC Radio 5 Live Breakfast.
Luke Shaw and Bruno Fernandes look glum during Manchester United’s 7-0 loss at Liverpool
Erik ten Hag paid the price for not making half-time changes, according to Peter Schmeichel
The legendary United goalkeeper said he was ‘disappointed’ Ten Hag didn’t alter his side
‘I was expecting changes at half-time, I was expecting two changes and he didn’t do them, which was disappointing.
‘The same team came out but for me it was evident it wasn’t working with Weghorst, it wasn’t working with Antony.
‘I think if you play with Antony, you have to play [Aaron] Wan-Bissaka behind him because he doesn’t take part in defending.
‘[Diogo] Dalot is in for a fair but of criticism today, which I think is unfair.’
Fernandes was singled out for criticism by Schmeichel’s former team-mates Roy Keane and Gary Neville in the Sky Sports studio for his petulant reactions when things went against United.
But the Dane argued Fernandes is no longer sure what his role is in the side, with Ten Hag moving him around the forward line to accommodate Weghorst.
‘He has looked a little bit frustrated,’ Schmeichel said.
‘I did the commentary for 5 Live for the Barcelona game and I was a little bit critical of him for giving the penalty away but also all the energy he spent talking to the referee about things that had already happen, they were well past it.
Schmeichel had sympathy for sulky Bruno Fernandes, saying he is being used out of position
Wout Weghorst was kept on in the No 10 position despite struggling to make much impact
‘I don’t think he has played in what he considers to be his best role and that was the change I was looking for yesterday. I was looking for Bruno to be moved into that kind of No 10 position.
‘He may feel he’s not getting everything out of his talent playing that position [out wide].
‘Also the fact he doesn’t have a position. Where is Bruno playing? What is his position in that team? As long as [Christian] Eriksen is not there, he should be playing a central position.’
The thrashing follow an 11-match unbeaten run for United and they have lost only twice since the season resumed after the World Cup.
They lifted the Carabao Cup last weekend and remain in the FA Cup and the UEFA Europa League, with Real Betis to come this Thursday.
Schmeichel advised Ten Hag to take a leaf out of Sir Alex Ferguson’s book and quickly draw a line under the Anfield defeat to re-focus minds on the next game.
Antony asks questions of his team-mates after Liverpool scored their fourth goal at Anfield
The seven-goal defeat on Sunday afternoon equalled Manchester United’s worst-ever loss
The former keeper cited a rough patch during his playing days in the 1996-97 season when United lost consecutive league games 5-0 at Newcastle, 6-3 at Southampton and 2-1 at home to Chelsea.
‘Hammering is the right word. It’s difficult. It happened in my time as a United player, we had three games,’ Schmeichel recalled.
‘The first one was Newcastle, we lost it 5-0, it was the first time we’d conceded five goals. We went to Southampton in the next game and conceded six. So we didn’t improve, we got worse.
‘Then in the third game we played Chelsea at Old Trafford and we lost it 2-1.
‘We lost three consecutive games, we conceded so many goals and in that 10-day period it was really difficult to understand what had happened because we were the same players with the same mentality.
‘It wasn’t like we felt we were tired or drained, or played too many games. Just couldn’t explain what had happened.
Schmeichel recalled a horror show from October 1996 when United lost 6-3 at Southampton
‘But from that Chelsea game, we moved on and started to win again. Like most of what is happening this season for United, every game is a test.
‘We see how strong the players are, we see how deep they can dig, we see how the manager is reacting. He has been very successful in changing the team throughout games where it is not working.
‘It didn’t happen for him yesterday, he has something to think about.’
Schmeichel added: ‘He [Ferguson] was brilliant. After the games, he wasn’t the happiest man of course. I always try to dismiss the hairdryer a bit, I say working in that environment when your boss is reacting to something that’s happened and he clears the air by doing that.
‘He always did that, if he needed to say something, he did it and the air was cleared, he never went back to it. That game especially.
Schmeichel recalled how Alex Ferguson would use the ‘hairdryer’ to clear the air after a loss
‘It was at the Dell and it had very small dressing rooms and the walls were made of cardboard, so most of the stadium could hear what he was saying. He wasn’t best pleased, put it that way.
‘We went on the team coach and he did the media, an hour later he was on the bus and playing cards with his card school and laughing.
‘We all know what happened in the game, what went wrong and what didn’t go well. He had to build us up again. If he was taking that to the trip back home and the next day, at some point you have to draw a line.
‘The next game is just around the corner, it is Betis on Thursday. You have to clear the air. We have to change this and move on, you cannot keep turning back to a bad defeat.’