Ralf Rangnick insists there is no need to strip Harry Maguire of the Manchester United captaincy, even though he admits he has seen ‘weaker moments’ from the defender in recent games.
Maguire has come under intense scrutiny from United supporters for some below-par performances this season, with some suggesting the armband should be taken away from him.
Criticism of the 28-year-old intensified over the weekend as United surrendered a 1-0 lead for the third straight game to draw 1-1 against Southampton at Old Trafford, but the caretaker manager Rangnick sees no reason to change his official leader on the field.
“I think when he came back from his injury he did very well. He had a very good performance, a very good game against West Ham,” Rangnick said.
“The last two games, yes, he had weaker moments, against Southampton and when we conceded the goal at Burnley, but he’s our captain and I see no reason to change that.”
Maguire was named United captain in January 2020 by former boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, five months after moving to Old Trafford in a club-record £80million transfer from Leicester.
He has already made 132 appearances for the club and Rangnick says it will take time for the England international to adjust to a new way of playing.
He added: “He is a player who has to develop, improve, like all the other players.
“The way we play now is new for him too because in the English national team he used to play in a back three and here at Manchester United in most cases a back four, but still not also proactive, not with that kind of rest defense always being on the front foot when we try to defend.
“It’s also something new for him and it will also take him some time to get used to it, to adapt to it.”
Rangnick accepts Hasenhuttl’s criticism: it’s normal
Ahead of Tuesday’s Premier League game against Brighton, Rangnick accepts United are not a ‘naturally-born pressing team’ after Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl questioned his team’s work ethic during of Saturday’s 1-1 draw.
Hasenhuttl commented on United’s lack of follow-through without the ball in his post-match press conference, while former United midfielder Paul Scholes suggested the players didn’t want to make a change for the club after the stalemate.
Hasenhuttl said on Saturday: “It’s no big secret that when they lose the ball, the running backs aren’t always everyone’s best.”
“It’s no big secret that when they lose the ball, the running backs aren’t everyone’s best”
Imagine being a Manchester United player and having a respected opposition manager saying that about you 😬
— Gary Neville (@GNev2) February 12, 2022
When asked what he thought of Hasenhuttl’s comments, Rangnick replied: “Well as far as I know he said they had a hard time in the first half against us, that we have won quite a few balls and I think just the fact that they changed their formation within the first 45 minutes a couple of times showed that we did a good job in the first half.
“Yeah, what he said we’re not a naturally born pressing team – that’s normal. They haven’t done that for the last two years and changing that to a pressing team all the time is difficult during the season.
“For us it’s important that we know and choose the right moments when it’s time to be proactive, to press, to be the best in counter-pressing and if that’s not possible, to stay. compact and not too easily dominated, and those were the moments we had to endure when we conceded goals too easily.
“Some of them were in transitional moments where we were almost too anxious. We weren’t ready at the right time and then we said ‘oh, I should have pressed’, coming one or two not too late. , then giving the other team space to be on the counterattack.
“I think it’s not just about tactical discipline, but being smart, smart enough to realize that if now it’s not possible, then just stay in position, keep your form. , keep your formation and always make it difficult for the other team to play through our lines.”
Nev: Man Utd’s problems are no longer due to the manager
Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville has reacted damningly to Manchester United’s latest Premier League setback after a 1-1 draw at home to Southampton.
In an explosive podcast, Neville dissected the ‘nonsense’ emanating from Old Trafford after a weekend in which the opposition manager questioned the team’s work rate and other points have been lost in the race to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
Ronaldo drought one of Man Utd’s many problems
Sky Sports’ Nick Wright:
Cristiano Ronaldo nodded skyward and threw up his arms in frustration as Southampton’s Romain Perraud cleared his feeble effort from the line in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Old Trafford.
Painful reactions become a familiar sight. Ronaldo scored 14 times in the first half of the campaign but his failure to find the net against the Saints took him to six games without a goal. It is his longest club drought since the 2008/09 campaign.
A barren six-game run wouldn’t be exactly alarming in most cases, but Ronaldo is different. The 37-year-old has set extraordinarily high standards for himself after scoring 688 goals in 923 club games. It is subject to more scrutiny than most.
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