LONDON: Harry Maguire has called on Manchester United to “stand up and be counted” after their shock 2-1 defeat to Sheffield United hurt their Premier League title chances.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side blew their chance to leapfrog Manchester City at the top of the table against opponents who had won just a single league match all season.
If Pep Guardiola’s team win their game in hand, they will be four points clear of United, who have not won the Premier League since 2013.
Maguire canceled out Kean Bryan’s opener with a powerful header in the second half but Oliver Burke scored the winner for the visitors after United failed to clear.
The United captain said the club must react quickly.
“The boys are devastated, if I’m honest,” he told club media.
“It’s a really quiet dressing room.
“The boys are so disappointed. We didn’t expect it, we came into the game confident. We’ve got to pick ourselves up.”
United’s defeat ended a 13-match unbeaten run in the league since they lost to Arsenal at Old Trafford on Nov. 1.
Mikel Arteta’s improved side are their next opponents, this weekend.
“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,” said Maguire.
“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.”
Chris Wilder is wary of claiming “an incredible escape is on” after he became the first Sheffield United manager to taste victory at Manchester United for 48 years.
The victory put a huge dent in United’s hopes of winning their first Premier League title since 2013 and gave them a huge morale boost in their battle to avoid relegation.
But Wilder’s side are still 10 points away from safety after securing just their second win in 20 league matches this season.
Solskjaer will hope the Blades can make it three when they visit table-topping Manchester City on Saturday.
City, chasing their third Premier League title in four seasons, lead United by a point and have a game in hand.
“It’s a long time to wait for a win at Old Trafford and it’s a special result, and a special performance,” said Wilder.
“I’m not saying an incredible escape is on but I want to show what we are about.”
The Sheffield United board have remained faithful to Wilder, who took them back to the Premier League in 2018/19 and led an impressive campaign last term.
The boyhood Sheffield United fan, who had two spells at the club as a player, admits their desperate plight has been partly self-inflicted.
“I think I’m always a proud man being involved in this football club of ours,” he said.
“I’ve just been told about (1973), TC (Tony Currie) scored the winner.
“It’s great for the players because it’s been a real difficult season — some stuff that we’ve not got right, some stuff that we could have controlled and a lot of stuff that was out of (our) control.”
The 53-year-old Englishman could only name six substitutes, including a reserve goalkeeper, for the game at Old Trafford but he praised the spirit in his camp.
“You look at the team tonight, you look at Max Lowe and Lys Mousset (on the bench), possibly could only do 10 minutes, so we only had three subs,” he said.
“So it’s that type of attitude and identity that makes me proud and delights me. We had to show all those qualities.”