Football NewsRalf Rangnick Defends Harry Maguire, saying there is no Need to Remove him as Utd’s Captain Despite Mounting Criticism of his Form
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Ralf Rangnick has thrown his support behind Harry Maguire, insisting he will not bow to fan pressure and drop the £80 million man.

Maguire, 28, has been under fire recently for a string of poor performances, with some United fans believing that the defender should be benched and the captaincy stripped from him.

Former manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer gave him the armband in January 2020, just five months after his mega-money move from Leicester. But his performances against Southampton and Burnley have convinced some fans that he is better off out of the firing line.

However, interim manager Rangnick believes there is no need to replace Maguire in the starting lineup.

‘I believe he did exceptionally well when he returned from his injury.’ Rangnick observed, “He had a really excellent performance, a very good game against West Ham.”

‘He had some weaker moments in the last two games, against Southampton and when we conceded the goal against Burnley, but he’s our captain and I don’t see any reason to change that.’

Under Solskjaer, Maguire was deployed in a back three and a back four, and Rangnick believes the defender, who has 132 appearances for United, still needs time to adjust to playing in a flat back four.

‘He’s a player who, like all the others, has to develop and improve,’ he added.

‘The way we’re playing now is new to him as well, because he was used to playing in a back three for the England national team, and here at Manchester United, he’s used to playing in a back four, but still not as proactive, not with that kind of rest defense always being on the front foot when we’re trying to defend.’

‘This is also something new to him, and it will take some time for him to acclimate to it.’

Rangnick will be looking to Maguire to help United break out of their recent slump, which has seen them squander points to Southampton and Burnley in the last week, missing out on the chance to gain ground on their opponents in the race for fourth place.

United is battling West Ham, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, and Wolves for a place in the Champions League next season, and Rangnick confirmed that placing fourth this season is the club’s top aim.

‘Right now, finishing fourth in the league is exactly what Manchester United needs to want,’ the German remarked.

‘Without a doubt, this is the best conceivable achievement we can achieve: certainly, we will advance to the next round of the Champions League, but that will not be an easy task. No. 4 in the league is our goal and what we need to accomplish.

‘If you look at the present table and the distance between us and the top two or three clubs, there are certainly some reasons why they are so far ahead.’

‘I can tell you from the last 10 weeks that the players are ambitious, work hard, and want to improve.’

‘After a game like Burnley, Middlesbrough, or Southampton, they don’t feel happy.’ My role is to assist them in identifying a strategy for winning games.’