Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confident Harry Maguire will bounce back from recent woes
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has no doubt out-of-sorts Harry Maguire will “bounce back” from his England nightmare – but revealed the Manchester United captain could miss Saturday’s trip to Newcastle through injury.
After a well-documented Greek court case and truncated pre-season, the most expensive defender in history has endured a torrid start to the 2020-21 campaign.
Maguire was under sharp focus after his miserable performance in United’s 6-1 home embarrassment to Tottenham, with the scrutiny ratcheting up on Wednesday after he was sent off for England in just the 31st minute.
Just three days after putting in a solid display in the comeback win against Belgium, the 27-year-old received his marching orders for two rash challenges in the first half of a match that ended in a 1-0 defeat to Denmark.
England boss Gareth Southgate and captain Harry Kane threw their support behind Maguire after the shock Nations League loss, with Solskjaer following suit ahead of Saturday evening’s Premier League match at Newcastle.
“When Harry is part of the England team that beats number-one ranked Belgium, that’s just a normal day and then you get the headlines when you get the sending-off,” the United boss said. “That’s just football for you.
“There’s so many ups and downs that we have got to deal with it, individually and as a group.
“Harry’s got great resilience. I know he’ll bounce back. I’ll 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 against (Denmark) 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’s absence might be a blessing in disguise in the opinion of United great Rio Ferdinand, who says the defender could benefit from being “taken out of the oven” and given a rest to regain his form.
But Solskjaer says the 27-year-old is determined to make amends on the pitch as United look to make a positive reaction from the bruising 6-1 shellacking at home to Spurs when they step out at St James’ Park.
“It’s one of those things that you have to get over as soon as you can and move on,” the under-fire United boss said.
“We know any little chance from outside… you want to create a division.
“I think Bruno (Fernandes) spoke really well the other day about how we are united, we have to stay together. We can’t listen to everyone outside. We’ve got to just get on with it.
“Bruno’s now lost two league games since he came to the club and he came in February, but it’s been two in quick succession.
“So, he’s not used to losing league games for us but now, Bruno, welcome to Man United – this is what happens when you lost a couple, they’re going to try to create a division between us.
“But that’s not going to happen because this group is a group that wants to work hard together, stick together.”
Solskjaer’s hopes of turning around their early season form have been boosted by a busy end to the transfer window, although United missed out on Jadon Sancho and failed to improve in some key areas over the summer.
But the late acquisitions of Edinson Cavani, Facundo Pellistri and Alex Telles will provide welcome options, with Solskjaer “looking forward to integrating them into the group”.
“Facundo, he’s been in training with us now two days,” the 1999 treble hero said.
“Very exciting, young enthusiastic player with some attributes that we don’t have. Of course he’s one maybe more for the future, maybe not for just now because he’s still 18.
“Alex came in yesterday, did his recovery after a long, long flight from Sao Paulo, having come on twice for Brazil so we’re looking forward to integrating him.
“Edinson has still not been with the group because of his quarantine, so all three of them have got something different to what we have and they’ll definitely come in and help us.
“I think the group, as well, are looking forward to having them join in.”
There were no unexpected outgoings before the deadline, but Paul Pogba once again spoke about his United future during the international break.
“Paul’s our player, he’s going to be here for another two years and I’m sure Paul is focused on doing his best for us and we want to see the best of Paul,” Solskjaer said.
“So, in the next couple of years I’m sure we’ll get the best out of him.”