Rangnick backs Maguire ahead of Southampton test

Friday 11 February 2022 14:13

Interim manager Ralf Rangnick has backed Manchester United captain Harry Maguire to rediscover his best form ahead of Saturday's game against Southampton.

The centre-back was caught out in the build-up to Burnley's equaliser in our 1-1 draw with Turf Moor on Tuesday evening, but the boss says the 28-year-old's return from injury has given the squad a boost.
The German admitted Maguire and Scott McTominay should not have allowed Clarets forward Wout Weghorst to bypass them before Jay Rodriguez's equaliser, but said that the goal originated from other mistakes further up the field.
Rangnick's detailed assessment of Maguire Video

Rangnick's detailed assessment of Maguire

Ralf was asked to evaluate Harry Maguire's form, in his latest press conference with reporters...

Harry had an outstanding game against West Ham [in the recent 1-0 win], like all the rest of our backline, began Rangnick. Against Middlesbrough, we didn't give away that many chances to the other team. 
At Burnley, yes, we could have defended that transitional moment better than we did," began Rangnick. “But, in the end, it was a negative chain reaction like in most goals that teams concede.
The Reds' defence has improved noticeably since the boss arrived as interim manager in December, but Ralf believes errors in possession are still causing us problems – something which cost us at Burnley.
“We had a brilliant counter-attack ourselves [before Rodriguez's goal], he explained. “The first pass was not the best one but even then, it was still a 2v2 or 3v3 situation and we should have got more out of that. 
“And then our 'rest defence' [a tactical term about the team structure when losing possession] was not really good; we should not have allowed this counter-attack to happen. We were not marking or connecting players well enough and high enough. 
“And, also, we didn't transition at the end, so when they got the ball, we were 2v1, with Harry and Scotty against him, and, of course, we shouldn't have allowed him to go through in that very moment, but, yeah, that can happen.

Rangnick: We're very, very close


The interim manager wants the team to stick to the game-plan to get our rewards.

Despite the recent criticism, stats show that Maguire is a really crucial component of United's side.
The defender has played 8,062 minutes in the Premier League since the 2018/19 season, more than any of his team-mates. United's win percentage with him in the side (54 per cent) is far higher than it is without him (25 per cent).
He has the second most 'ball carries' for us this season, behind only Bruno Fernandes. Additionally, he has made 59 progressive passes in the Premier League. 
Both of the latter two statistics imply that Maguire should be judged on what he does with the ball in possession, as much as for his defensive work – in much the same way that full-backs are now appraised for their contributions at both ends of the field.
Part 1 of Ralf's press conference: United v Saints Video

Part 1 of Ralf's press conference: United v Saints

Watch the first half of Ralf's press conference with journalists, to preview Saturday's match with Southampton...

Whatever your view on that, Rangnick's analysis is more straightforward: the defender simply needs more games, after a recent injury issue that kept him out of action.

As I said, Harry was injured, stated Ralf. He had two-and-a-half weeks out with injury, then he came back, and had a very good game against West Ham. 

And I'm pretty sure he can perform at the same kind of level against Southampton.