Manchester United defender Harry Maguire has suggested that the squad needs to have more confidence on the ball to take control in matches. United played four times in August, beating Chelsea 4-0, drawing 1-1 with Wolverhampton Wanderers, losing 2-1 to Crystal Palace and drawing 1-1 with Southampton, the most recent match.
At St Mary’s on Saturday, United had 58.6% possession, having 21 shots on goal, eight of those on target, nine off target and four being blocked. Maguire, an England international, was once again partnered with Victor Lindelof if the heart of defence, which has been a good partnership so far this season, considering last seasons poor defensive record.
United took the lead against Southampton in the tenth minute of the match through a Daniel James strike on goal which caused a celebration with ‘James, James will tear you apart again’ roaring in sections of the United faithful in the crowd. It seemed like it could be one of those matches that United scored goals for fun. However, it was much different.
Maguire thought that United were a bit unlucky not to leave the South Coast with three points in the bag. With the number of chances that United had on goal, they should have been doing a lot more with the ball. Having eight shots on target should heed more goals that just one. Maguire, speaking to the official Manchester United website, said:
“It’s another game we deserved to win. We created the majority of the chances and we’ve dropped two points.
“We gave the ball away far too much. We need to improve on that and show arrogance on the ball and be confident on the ball.
“We’re Manchester United and we want to control games.”
The £80 million signing from Leicester City has come on leaps and bounds since his move to United, in a bid to secure the defence and ensure they move on from conceding 54 goals in the Premier League alone this season. Four matches in, with 34 remaining, United have conceded four goals, which will need to be curtailed.
The Saints had Kevin Danso sent off with around 17 minutes of the match remaining, which left United in control of the match, putting themselves forward in the search of a winning goal, which never came. Maguire feels that the energy and impetus that United showed is something that needs to be shown a lot more in the upcoming matches. He said:
“That’s how we should play all the way through the game.
“Seeing the confidence of our players when they went down to 10 men, it seemed like everyone wanted the ball and wanted to create a chance.
“We did enough in those 15 minutes to score a goal, we just needed to be more clinical.”
There is now a short break form top level club football with the first international break of the season. Maguire, along with Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford will all be in action for England, as they face Bulgaria and Kosovo in the Euro 2020 qualifiers over the next eight days or so.
In September, United will be tested and they will need to overcome their inability to win matches, which has been shown in the last three in which United has drawn twice and lost once. Leicester City will be the first challenge followed by FC Astana in the UEFA Europa League, both matches at Old Trafford. Then, United face West Ham United away, Rochdale at home in the Carabao Cup, followed by Arsenal at home.
Solskjaer will have some time to come up with a plan to take on their rivals in the league this season. Having five points after four matches is not the best start but it could have been worse. There is something to aim for even more now and going on a winning run in September is something that will awaken the beast that is Manchester United.