LIVERPOOL, England -- Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admitted he doesn't know whether all of his players care enough after the 4-0 hammering by Everton.
United slumped to their sixth defeat in eight games after a dismal display at Goodison Park, leaving their top-four hopes hanging by a thread ahead of home games against Manchester City and Chelsea.
Asked afterwards whether he believed his players cared enough to play for the club, Solskjaer, who said members of his squad need a "reality check" on Friday, said: "I don't know.
"You've got to ask them. I've asked them, you're not going get the answer from me but if you want to play at this club it has to mean more.
"We can't change the whole squad. One step at a time. I'm going to be successful here and there are players that won't be part of that."
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Solskjaer apologised to United supporters who travelled to Goodison Park after they continued singing throughout the 90 minutes despite watching their biggest Premier League defeat since 2016. The Norwegian will have to lift his players quickly with City visiting Old Trafford on Wednesday followed by a home game against Chelsea four days later.
"That's the biggest incentive we can have, Old Trafford at home in front of our fantastic fans," Solskjaer said.
"They were unbelievable again and they never, ever moaned at our players which they could have. They've been supportive and I'm sure they will be on Wednesday night.
"We've got to focus on these two games. We're still in with a chance to get the points we need for the top four so sometimes, it sounds too easy to say but we have to look forward. You cannot dwell too much on this."
Everton were completely dominant and the 4-0 scoreline didn't flatter Marco Silva's side after registering 15 shots and eight on target. United forced Jordan Pickford into just one save and also ran 8km less than Everton -- a statistic that prompted Solskjaer to lay into his players' fitness.
"A basic thing in a team performance is running," Solskjaer said.
"Our fitness is nowhere near good enough.
"We've been chasing results and are close to the top four and never envisaged being so close when we came in but maybe it's caught up with us.
"We all know to win games of football, it's basics, and fitness is nothing to do with talent."
Solskjaer went over to the travelling fans and apologised after the match -- and former United captain Gary Neville laid into the side following a woeful afternoon.
"I'm furious with the fact that he's [Solskjaer] had to go over to apologise to the fans," Neville said.
"I've often said that if clubs have got weeds in the garden, you've got to get rid of them. There are some Japanese knot weeds at that football club and it's attacking the foundations of the house and needs dealing with properly.
"The fans are not going to turn on Ole. The players have their heads on the line."
"It was embarrassing watching some of those Manchester United players out there today. I have full belief in Ole with what he needs to do. The club will fully support him. That performance today was rancid."
Asked to name which players he believed were a problem, Neville said: "I don't need to name names. They know who they are. They are in the papers every day and are on social media.
"I've fallen into the trap of talking about talent. Forget it if they don't work hard enough."
Information from Reuters was used in this report.