LONDON, England -- Luke Shaw insists the players are to blame for Manchester United's poor run of form and not manager Jose Mourinho.
The Portuguese coach has come under fire after United followed up the draw with Wolves and the Carabao Cup exit to Derby County with a disastrous defeat at West Ham on Saturday. Shaw described the performance at the London Stadium as "horrendous" and "awful" while adding the players had not shown they deserved to wear the United shirt.
But as pressure mounts on Mourinho, the defender is adamant that the manager is not the problem.
"We have to look at ourselves as players," said Shaw. "We're the ones who go on the pitch. The manager isn't on the pitch is he? He's there to put a team out and put a team out that he thinks can win the game.
"You look at our team [against West Ham] and we had a very strong team. No excuses. As players we weren't good enough."
Shaw was brutally honest about the display against West Ham and a result which leaves United nine points behind leaders Liverpool and Manchester City after seven games. The 23-year-old made a point of handing over his shirt to a fan at the final whistle and afterwards apologised to the 3,000 supporters who travelled to east London.
"If you want the truth I think it was honestly horrendous," said Shaw. "We didn't look like a team that was going to beat West Ham. I think individually and as a team we were awful.
"That's not good enough. It's hard to take and we're sorry to the fans for what they saw. It was not good enough from a Man United team with all the talent we have.
"From the first minute you could see we weren't winning the second balls and our duels. It's hard to take. It just wasn't good enough from us. That shouldn't be happening.
"Games like this we should be dominating, creating chances, showing people why we deserve to play for Man United and that didn't happen. It was very poor from us. Very, very poor."
In the immediate aftermath of the defeat there was fresh speculation United are lining up former Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane to replace Mourinho, although it was dismissed as "nonsense" by sources close to the club on Saturday night.
However, Mourinho's position remains under the spotlight ahead of home games against Valencia and Newcastle in the next six days.
Alexis Sanchez is likely to be back in the squad for Valencia's visit to Old Trafford on Tuesday after he was axed for the trip to West Ham. Sources have told ESPN FC the Chilean was dropped after a heated meeting with Mourinho last week where the United boss expressed his concern at the forward's performance level this season. Sanchez is yet to score in five appearances and has been substituted in his last three starts, including being removed after just 63 minutes during the draw with Wolves.
Juan Mata, who was left out the squad entirely against Tottenham and Burnley, was also the subject of Mourinho's ire. Andreas Pereira could also feature against Valencia, where he played 29 games on loan last season. The midfielder, according to sources, is not injured despite being omitted from the matchday squad against Derby and West Ham.