Thursday, May 23, 2024

Harry Maguire accepts big changes ´rightly´ coming at Man Utd

SoccerNews in FA Cup 24 Apr 2024

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Harry Maguire accepts there will be big changes at Manchester United at the end of the season, but he says everyone at the club must remain together amid fierce criticism of their displays.

United have endured a miserable second season under Erik ten Hag, sitting seventh in the Premier League table and 16 points adrift of the top four ahead of Wednesday’s visit of Sheffield United.

They could yet end the campaign with silverware after reaching the FA Cup final with Sunday’s penalty shoot-out victory over Coventry City, but they have been heavily criticised after narrowly avoiding a humiliating loss in that semi-final.

Ten Hag’s men squandered a 3-0 lead and were fortunate to avoid a 4-3 defeat in the dying moments of extra time, when Victor Torp’s potential winner was disallowed for a marginal offside call.

Roy Keane said United’s players looked “embarrassed” to win the tie, though Ten Hag later said it was the negative media coverage of his team that was embarrassing.

Speaking to Sky Sports ahead of Wednesday’s meeting with his former club, Maguire said: “I’ve been at this club a long enough time to know that the noise around the place is always here, whether it’s with the manager or the players.

“There are players under huge amounts of pressure and when you lose matches or go on bad runs, the manager comes under pressure as well.

“We all know it’s about maintaining our focus and aims for the season and sticking together. We believe that we can still achieve things this season.

“We’ve got an FA Cup final, Premier League games to fight in and we’re all in this together. The manager, the players, the fans, we all want the same thing and that’s to be successful.”

United’s players celebrated Sunday’s win in a muted fashion, with the exception of winger Antony, who has been roundly mocked for cupping his ears to taunt Coventry’s players.

Reflecting on the end of that game, Maguire said: “It was a really strange mix of emotions. I don’t think we needed to celebrate too hard.

“We let ourselves down in the last 20 minutes of normal time and to play for this club, it involves huge responsibility, and we didn’t take responsibility in that last 20 minutes.

“You’re coming to training the next day and you’re in another FA Cup final. It’s what you dream of playing in when you’re a young boy, so the boys are really happy.

“But like I said, the way the game ended, we were disappointed with the way we acted.”

A decision on Ten Hag’s future is one of many which must be made by new minority shareholder Jim Ratcliffe in the coming weeks, after the INEOS founder was handed full control of football operations at Old Trafford.

Maguire has faith in INEOS to get things right in the close season, saying: “They’ve brought a lot of positivity to the club and to the fanbase. I think there will be changes and rightly so.

“The club is wanting to get back to where it was 15 years ago, and that’s fighting for the big trophies and league titles. I’m sure they have a plan.”

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