Man Utd: Solskjaer gives injury update for West Ham game
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Manchester United have waited a while to see the best of Harry Maguire. But that finally appears to be happening, with the England international now producing some of his best displays under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer since his arrival at Old Trafford nearly two years ago. The centre-back was solid against West Ham on Sunday, helping his side pick up all three points.
United went into the game against West Ham seeking a return to winning ways.
After failing to beat AC Milan in the first leg of their Europa League clash on Thursday night, and seeing Leicester thump Sheffield United, the pressure was on Solskjaer’s side.
It wasn’t pretty against West Ham but, fortunately for the Norwegian, they picked up all three points.
Craig Dawson’s own goal was enough to get United over the line, seeing them leapfrog Leicester to second in the Premier League table.
And Maguire produced another fine performance for the Red Devils as they battled their way to a crucial victory.
It’s been a topsy-turvy season for the 28-year-old, whose arrest in Greece back in the summer saw him make the headlines for all the wrong reasons.
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But Solskjaer has persevered and persevered and, now, the 48-year-old’s faith is starting to be repaid.
Maguire has often faced accusations that he isn’t vocal enough as United captain, especially when compared to previous skippers Roy Keane, Gary Neville and Wayne Rooney.
But the England international was loud throughout the match against West Ham, at one point being overheard telling the team to sharpen up. With a few expletives, of course.
He also came down hard on Aaron Wan-Bissaka, telling him to stop giving the ball away at a time where the Hammers were starting to cause problems.
Maguire maintained a pass accuracy of 86 per cent against the Hammers, while also recovering the ball eight times.
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He won five of six aerial duels, managed one interception and one block while managing seven clearances throughout the match, too.
And it now seems the United star is becoming the undroppable asset Solskjaer has always insisted he’ll be.
Maguire won’t ever get the praise he deserves because of his huge price tag. At £80million, consistency is the very least fans have a right to expect.
He’s not a goalscorer like Bruno Fernandes or Marcus Rashford, while his old-school approach to defending means he won’t ever satisfy those who want footballing perfection.
But Maguire is showing his worth and has now helped United keep nine clean sheets from their last 13 matches across all competitions.
Next up for United is the second leg of their Europa League clash with Milan.
And Maguire will certainly start that match at a time where the Red Devils’ season is reaching its crunch point.
United haven’t won a trophy since scooping the Europa League back in 2017 when Jose Mourinho ruled the Old Trafford roost.
Yet with Maguire in this sort of form, they’ll be confident of going to the San Siro and emerging with their name in the pot for the next round.
Meanwhile, Solskjaer feels the victory over West Ham is ‘massive’ and will set his side in good stead for the closing matches of the campaign.
“It was massive for us,” said the Norwegian.
“We know what momentum can give you or take away from you and, of course, the goal we conceded in the last minute against Milan, it is a mental test.
“How did we react and everyone has reacted in the right way. We have kept a clean sheet. We started poorly.
“The first 15 minutes, I have to say, we kept giving them easy turnovers, giving them chances to break on us.
“Then again our back four, they won the ball back for us. The recovery was really good and we kept them away from hitting the target once.
“Dean [Henderson] didn’t have one save to make which is the sign of a good performance.”
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