Harry Maguire pinpoints biggest Manchester United weakness vs Man City

Harry Maguire blamed Manchester United’s inability to keep the ball for their disastrous second-half display at the Etihad.

United were 2-1 down to City at the interval but turned in a woeful performance after the break, never threatening Ederson and conceding twice more to suffer a humiliating derby defeat.

Maguire felt United had been the better side in the first half but bemoaned their ability to hold onto possession as a major weakness after the break.

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That is best summed up by City enjoying 92% of the ball in the final quarter of an hour, when United were supposed to be chasing the game.

“It’s a disappointing result for the players, for the club, for the fans, for everyone involved. We come into these games full of emotion, we give everything, work tirelessly in preparation, had great belief we could come here and get a result,” Maguire told MUTV.

“The game was 50/50 first half, very disappointed to go in 2-1 down, I felt the game was edged toward ourselves. We could take the positives into the second half but we haven’t performed.

“When we had the ball we gave it back far too easy, we weren’t clean enough in our passing and when we did have chances to hurt them we weren’t clinical enough. We gave the ball far too easy, we know they like to control the game through possession and we let them do that in the second half.

“We had good belief at half-time, we played the first half well, it was 50/50 in both teams playing aggressively on the front foot. When we won the ball back in the first half we were clean, we were good in transitions, we punished them by finding good balls out wide and kept the ball in their half.

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“The second half comes and we gave the ball away far too easily and it enabled them to control the ball through possession and we couldn’t get up the pitch.

“For me the most important thing is we’ve got to look better after the ball.”

The defeat leaves United outside the top four, a point behind Arsenal who now have three games in hand on them. Tottenham could also close the gap to two points if they win tonight and they also have a couple of games in hand on United.

It is Tottenham who are next up for Ralf Rangnick’s side at Old Trafford and Maguire know it is now essential they start putting a run together.

“We know it’s an important end to the season and a run of games where we know we’ve got to go on a run and pick up win after win after win. We’re more than capable of doing it but we have to show it on the pitch,” he said.

“It’s going to be a disappointing couple of days, the lads are devastated in there, we’ll analyze the game but when we come to Tottenham we need to make sure we’re ready to perform.”

Maguire also paid tribute to United’s fans at the Etihad and vowed to give them something to cheer before the end of the season.

“They were singing, they clapped us off at the end. Our fans are amazing, the best fans in the world, we’re disappointed we didn’t give them something to cheer for,” he said.

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“This season hasn’t been good enough at all. The remaining games of the season will be right behind us and we have to make sure we put a smile back on their faces.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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