Harry Maguire backed by Ten Hag despite heavy criticism
Manchester United are looking to make it five wins on the bounce in the Premier League this weekend with a victory over rivals Manchester City.
It will be our first league match since beating Arsenal 3-1 on September 4 after the Crystal Palace and Leeds United fixtures were postponed following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
However, Manchester United will not have skipper Harry Maguire available after the centre-back was seen limping after England’s 3-3 draw with Germany.
Maguire played against Italy and Germany during the international break and was subject to more criticism after being at fault for two goals scored by the Germans. That performance led to more questions about Gareth Southgate’s loyalty to Maguire.
But Southgate isn’t the only manager showing faith in Maguire as Ten Hag believes the defender will improve.
“First of all, of course I have to coach him, I have to back him,” Ten Hag told reporters, as per Manchester Evening News. “But I back him because I believe in him.
“In the period I worked with him in pre-season was good, I think I would say really good – training and games.
“Then he fell out (of the starting line-up) – but it’s also todo with the good performance of the centre-backs who are playing now.
“But I can see the qualities. Even after he wasn’t in the team, he trained really well but more important the quality was really there.
“You see his career, almost 50 caps for England. With Leicester and Man United, he’s performing really well so what you see is he has a high potential.
“Then it’s about him. The players in the dressing room, the coaches, the manager, we all believe in him. Now it is about him.
“That is what I told him. I’m sure he can do it. He will turn around this. I am really convinced of that.”
Ten Hag was later asked about the potential mental health impact on players who are criticised by so many people on social media. The manager gave a blunt but supportive response:
“But it’s an aspect of top football, it’s an aspect of our work.
“We set conditions for that as manager. We also have experts around to help, to coach the players, the team in the right direction.
“I think he’s doing quite well, but every player has room for improvement and if he believes in his skills he will quickly be back on the level and even more than he did.
“Once again, I am convinced of that because I see his capabilities and it’s really high.”
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