Erik ten Hag has instructed his Manchester United players to perform like “robots” as he intends to build a competent winning team.

Since taking over last summer, the Dutchman has seen an improvement at Old Trafford, but recent defeats to top-four rivals Newcastle United and Liverpool have cast doubts about the team’s readiness to compete at the highest level.

Ten Hag criticised his players’ lack of effort at St. James’ Park and said he wanted to see ruthless efficiency in the final stretch as they prepare to play Brentford.

The gaffer cited fatigue as the rationale behind the team’s performance while also calling for them to adjust t the situation at hand.

“When they can’t get this (message), then they are in the wrong place.

“I agree we dropped (at Newcastle), so we returned to old habits. There are fluctuations because persons are not robots. But we have to act as robots, we have to act as machines.

“We can expect and we have to expect and demand from our players that they match the standards, so when we are not doing (that) we are disappointed because that is our job.”

He also added that his players are capable of turning out consistent performances when need be.

“Yeah, because we have shown (in) so many games we did it.

“Very strong belief, very strong confidence, very strong passion, the togetherness we had. We have shown it in many games and in big games. We have shown we can win the games, but you have to do it every time because that is the demand on the top player.

“That is the expectation Manchester United and the fans have from our team and from our players so they have to do it.”

A win for United against Brentford will see them go into third position, surpassing Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle.

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