Reece James returned to action in last night’s defeat to Manchester United and afterwards the skipper assessed the result, the performance, and our inconsistent form.

James, who missed the Brighton win because of a suspension, came on at half-time with the scores level at Old Trafford after Cole Palmer had cancelled out Scott McTominay’s opener.

It was the Scot who made the decisive intervention midway through the second period to hand the hosts the points, leaving James a frustrated figure.

‘It’s disappointing to come here and walk away with nothing,’ he said.

‘We were probably lucky to be 1-1 at half-time. They missed a penalty and had another chance they should have scored in the first half. When I came on we were in the game.

‘To win games you need to take chances. We had lots in the first half and a couple in the second. We created a lot, but we weren’t clinical in taking our chances. They took a couple of theirs.

‘We knew Manchester United are an amazing team and coming here would be hard. They didn’t surprise us. It’s tough to say why we lost, but we have to move on.’

This defeat follows the battling win over Brighton, which itself came after a 4-1 loss away to Newcastle.

Prior to that we had beaten Tottenham and drawn with Manchester City. Stringing a run of wins together is proving problematic, and ahead of several fixtures against teams below us in the table, James considered why we are inconsistent.

‘We go out there wanting to win but it’s still a young squad and we are learning game by game. Preparation for every game is the same, whether we are playing a top half or a bottom half team. At the moment it’s quite tough, but we know we have the capabilities to win every game.

‘We need to go back to the drawing board and review the game, and then prepare for Everton. We need to prepare right and start climbing the table.’