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Scott McTominay hails team spirit but admits hurt at Leicester defeat

Manchester United midfielder Scott McTominay has hailed his side’s team spirit after turning around a two-goal deficit to win the game against Atalanta on Wednesday.

The fearless Italian outfit stunned Old Trafford earlier in the week, with two first-half goals from La Dea giving the visitors a shock lead as Manchester United’s Champions League future was hanging in the balance.

There was, however, a strong response from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side after the interval, and goals from Marcus Rashford, Harry Maguire, and Cristiano Ronaldo stole all three points for the Reds.

McTominay has now hailed his teammates for the grit and determination they showed in the vital victory over the Bergamo club but has admitted to still being hurt by the embarrassing defeat to Leicester just days before that euphoric night at Old Trafford.

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“It was so important in terms of the way we did win it, it was big for the team spirit and the dynamic of the group,” McTominay told the official Manchester United website ahead of this Sunday’s clash with Liverpool.

“Obviously we’re still disappointed by the Leicester game and a couple of games before that.

“It’s not just we win this game and it’s all sunshine and rainbows, we still need to do more as a group. It’s not just a case of we win one game and we’re back to being amazing, it’s not the case, we have to make sure that, in every game, the mentality is the same.

“People wherever were speaking about how bad we were in the first half, well I didn’t think we were at all. I thought the way we handled the first half was obviously difficult because they scored two goals from the two opportunities they had. Other than that, I think we had four or five opportunities, two of which the linesman has put his flag up for when he [our player] was onside. We were moving the ball and switching it and I didn’t feel like we had a real threat against us.

“The negativity which surrounds the football club is obviously massive and I’ve experienced it many, many times. For new players coming in and the younger players coming in, they might not have seen this. Everybody is desperate to be negative against Manchester United. We’re underdogs now and, in every game, people can write us off. At half-time I’m sure people were saying this, that and the other, but the players have got full belief in the coaches and the manager and we won’t give up.

“We might be going through a bad time, but every team goes through a bad time at least once in a season, maybe twice,” he continued. “But, for us, it’s obviously scrutinised to a different level and, as I say, it’s about blocking it all out and forgetting about it and concentrating on us. The spirit in the group was amazing on Wednesday night and that’s the way we’ve got to keep it, that’s the benchmark now and that’s the standards that we’ve got to set for each other and demand.”

Stretty News Verdict

The defeat to Leicester will have hurt the players but had they lost to Atalanta, unrecoverable damage could have been done to the season which promised greatness just a couple of weeks ago.

Four wins and one draw from their opening five Premier League games had set up United for a sparkling season but three games and no wins later, there is increasing pressure on the squad and manager.

Victory over Liverpool on Sunday would help ease the pressure further but in truth, questions remain over the current crop of Manchester United players as the club’s trophy drought risks an extension to five years by the end of the season.

McTominay was United’s best player in that agonising Europa League final defeat to Villarreal earlier this year and the 24-year-old knows better than anyone what it means to represent the club.

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