Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has backed Harry Maguire to come through his rough spell on and off the pitch and has also hit out at critics of Manchester United.
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Solskjaer, who is under pressure as Manchester United have lost two of their first three games of the season, spoke to the media ahead of the trip to Newcastle on Saturday (watch live, 3pm ET via Peacock Premium).
Should Harry Maguire be taken out of the limelight by Manchester United?
Asked about Maguire — Man United’s captain was sent off for England during the international break following some awful displays for his club which carried over from being arrested and charged in Greece as he awaits a retrial — this was Solskjaer’s response.
“Harry’s got great resilience. I know he’ll bounce back,” Solskjaer said. “I know that he wants to play, he wants to just work his way out of the last couple of games that he’s been criticised [for]. He picked up a knock just before he came off, so I’m just hopeful he’ll be fit. We’ve had a look at him yesterday and give him a test again today.”
Maguire, 27, was named Manchester United captain last season and he was key in a huge improvement defensively from the Red Devils last season. Many people are linking his issues off the pitch to his recent poor form on it, but Maguire wants to keep playing and as long as he’s fit Solskjaer will play him.
Do United really have the option to take him out of the firing line and rest him right now? No. They don’t even if he’s not at his best, they have to stick with him and Solskjaer will do that.
Siege mentality being created by Solskjaer
Solskjaer was also asked about reports that Bruno Fernandes was unhappy with the way Manchester United had played against Tottenham, as the Portuguese international shot down those suggestions and insisted the group are holding strong together. Solskjaer echoed his sentiments.
“Welcome to Manchester United, this is what happens when you lose a couple. It’s one of those things – you have to get over it as soon as you can and move on,” Solskjaer said. “We know any little chance from outside they want to create a division. I think Bruno spoke really well the other day, saying, ‘We are united and we have to stay together’.
This is straight out of the Sir Alex Ferguson handbook. United need to respond after that big defeat at home to Tottenham before the international break and Solskjaer knows his side have to improve defensively and Maguire is key to that.
Backing Maguire and rallying against critics is creating a siege mentality and Manchester United know there are probably tougher times coming up as they face Paris Saint-Germain, Arsenal and Chelsea in the coming weeks. First up: Newcastle away.