Harry Maguire called for Manchester United players to rally around one another and stick together after their Champions League last-16 exit to Atletico Madrid.
United managed a 1-1 draw in the first leg at Atletico to keep hopes alive of making just a third quarter-final in the competition since finishing runners-up under Alex Ferguson in 2010-11.
But a Renan Lodi first-half header condemned United to a 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford on Tuesday, sealing a 2-1 aggregate triumph for Diego Simeone’s battling visitors.
That ended United’s hopes of silverware for yet another season, with Ralf Rangnick’s remaining goal being to secure a top-four finish – a race that looks set to go to the wire.
Indeed, fourth-placed Arsenal could be seven points clear of United by the time Rangnick’s team host Leicester City on April 2, but captain Maguire knows now is no time for self-pity.
“Of course it’s going to be a disappointing couple of weeks now,” he told reporters.
“There’s no problems in the dressing room,” Maguire insisted. “When you play for this club, there’s always reports and lots of media attention. It’s got nothing to do with the result.”
“The lads need to go, have a rest but make sure that we come back fighting for the end of the season.
“We’ve got nine important Premier League games that we need to try to win every game that we play in, stick together.
“My job as captain obviously has a big role in that as well and making sure that we stick together and we finish the season strong – because we owe it to the fans.”
United were left frustrated by referee Slavko Vincic as they were left bewildered by the decision to not award a foul on Anthony Elanga moments before Lodi converted at the culmination of a slick Atleti counter at the other end.
“I think the style in Europe, it’s not for me to really comment on,” Maguire told beIN Sports when asked of the incident. “But, yeah, I think every time you touch someone, it’s a foul.
“I mean Anthony [Elanga] has a header in the first couple of minutes. Heads the ball over the bar, the keeper probably comes and clatters him and he gets the foul, so it’s a different style.
“I think – as a team – we’ve maybe got learn from it, got to grow from it and don’t lose our discipline.
“I felt like the last 20 to 30 minutes of the game we should have been pushing and creating a little bit more but we got too frustrated, we started losing our shape and we lost momentum in the game.”