“It hasn’t clicked for him” - Harry Maguire defends Manchester United superstar amid recent criticism
Manchester United defender Harry Maguire leapt to his embattled teammate Marcus Rashford's defence following the 1-0 Premier League defeat at Newcastle United on Saturday (December 2).
Continuing his poor start to the campaign, Rashford had a forgettable outing at St. James Park as Erik ten Hag's side slumped to their sixth league defeat of the season.
In a game bossed by the home side, Newcastle eventually emerged victorious, thanks to a 55th-minute Anthony Gordon winner. Anthony had the ball in the back of the net for United in stoppage time, but the equaliser was ruled out, as it had come off Maguire, who was in an offside position.
Meanwhile, Rashford underwhelmed once again, having scored just twice - both in the league - in 18 games across competitions. Coming off a 30-goal 2022-23 season, the United attacker has been a pale shadow of his illustrious self.
However, Maguire said (as per Daily Mail) that the team is aware of Rashford's quality despite his recent travails.
"Marcus had an unbelievable season last season. This season, it hasn't clicked for him. He's working hard. Everyone in that dressing room knows what he's about.
"It's been a tough week with three away days in six days. To be fair, in the first half, we looked like we'd played our third away day in six days."
The loss - coming off a 3-3 UEFA Champions League draw at Galatasaray - snapped United's three-game winning league run. Erik ten Hag's side dropped to seventh in the standings after 14 games, nine points off leaders Arsenal.
"They played better than us tonight" - Manchester United boss after Newcastle defeat
Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag had no qualms admitting that Newcastle were the better team on the night.
However, a combination of resolute defending from United and profligate finishing from the Magpies meant that the margin of victory was only 1-0. Nevertheless, Ten Hag acknowledged his team's strong finish, almost snatching a late equaliser, which was eventually ruled out.
The Dutchman told BBC after the game (as per United's website):
“We have to give credit to Newcastle. They played better than us tonight. We started well. We had a good chance by (Alejandro) Garnacho, but, then, for a long period, Newcastle had the better performance than us.
"We went down 1-0, but, to be fair, by the end of the game, we came back and had some good opportunities. (Sergio) Reguilon had a good chance, then (there was) the offside goal, so we fought back, but we have to do this for the whole game.”
There's little time to dwell on the defeat, as games are coming thick and fast. Next up, Manchester United host arch-rivals Chelsea on Wednesday (December 6).