Maguire: How we must improve

Tuesday 28 December 2021 07:00

Manchester United were held to a 1-1 draw away to Newcastle United on Monday evening, and captain Harry Maguire expressed his frustration at the result when speaking to club media afterwards.

Ralf Rangnick’s side were playing their first game for more than a fortnight, after two fixtures were postponed due to a COVID-19 outbreak within the squad. Maguire explained the impact this had on the Reds' ranks, saying: "No sixteen-day break in the middle of a football season is going to help you.

"The training ground has been shut, and half the lads playing today are recovering from the virus so of course it's not going to help us. We’ve had people with symptoms, people without symptoms, it’s been a real mixed bag for everyone at the football club and it’s been a tough time.

"But you can’t make excuses for sloppy passes and the opportunities that we had, especially in the first half.
Maguire: We were far too sloppy Video

Maguire: We were far too sloppy

The skipper says Covid issues haven't helped us, but that the Reds need to be much tidier in possession...

"We’ve got to stay on the ball, we’ve got to stay active and we’ve got to play the ball in their half and we didn’t manage to do that.

"You can look at that and ask whether the last 16 days had a big impact on that because it looked like we ran out of steam out there. A point in the end is a fair result, but it's a result that we’re disappointed with."

The centre-back sang the praises of goalkeeper David De Gea, who made several important saves to deny the hosts and keep the game level.

"David’s on great form at the minute," said Maguire. "In big moments, it always seems to be, late on in games, that he’s always there to produce for us."
With Newcastle in the lead at half-time, Rangnick altered his formation and made two substitutions, with Mason Greenwood and Fred being replaced by Edinson Cavani and Jadon Sancho. These changes had the desired impact, with Cavani netting the equaliser, and Maguire praised the Uruguayan.

"He’s come on and made a big impact and I think you’ve seen in the first 30 minutes of the second half especially, it was probably our best spell in the game.

"Credit to them [Sancho and Cavani] for making that change in tempo and intensity."
Maguire feels that the Reds will benefit from playing regularly again, with two more matches to come in the next seven days.

"That’s the best thing about the Premier League, you’ve always got a game in two, three or four days’ time so it [Burnley on Thursday] is one we are looking forward to.

"I'm sure 90 minutes will have benefitted every single player out there. The Burnley game and the Wolves game are coming up thick and fast and we’ve got to play better than we have done tonight to make sure we get three points."

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