Manchester United supervisor Erik ten Hag usually reverts again to a easy demand when requested about gamers who’re acting at a degree under that required in a theatre as grand as Previous Trafford.
“They should step up,” the Dutchman likes to say.
Within the Champions League towards Copenhagen, on an evening when United have been honouring considered one of their biggest gamers and when the supervisor admitted “victory is our solely choice”, two of his most criticised gamers definitely did step up.
Harry Maguire and Andre Onana have been closely scrutinised in latest instances.
Maguire misplaced captaincy in the summertime and West Ham United had a bid for him accepted. The 30-year-old opted to stay at Previous Trafford however, having slipped to fifth-choice central defender – behind left-back Luke Shaw – no-one was certain why.
Some unsure moments within the first half for the England defender did nothing to recommend a revival for Maguire.
Not that many individuals have been certain why Ten Hag paid £47m to signal Onana from Inter Milan both.
The Cameroon goalkeeper’s perceived power is distribution, however towards Copenhagen that was not in nice proof – with the 2 diagonal passes despatched straight out of play within the first half.
Nonetheless, with 18 minutes remaining, it was Maguire who compelled his approach onto the top of Christian Eriksen’s sensible curling cross to the far publish.
And with the ultimate motion of the sport, deep into added time, it was Onana who beat away Jordan Larsson’s penalty to safe a primary win of United’s European marketing campaign and hold their hopes of qualification for the Champions League final 16 alive.
Onana’s persona shines by means of
Onana doesn’t seem to lack confidence however at instances throughout his brief United profession he has blamed himself for errors which have both price objectives or put his crew below strain.
His clearing kicks towards Copenhagen have been poor however, as Ten Hag identified, he produced an excellent save to disclaim Lukas Lerager earlier than securing the win by saving the penalty taken by the teenage son of former Sweden and United striker Henrik.
“He confirmed persona,” stated Ten Hag.
“He is aware of that earlier than, given the degrees of what his abilities are, he did not match his abilities and he might do higher.
“I believe on Saturday [against Sheffield United] it was an excellent efficiency and at this time as properly.
“Do not forget that sensible save simply after half-time within the counter-attack. And in addition remember, considered one of his abilities is he is an excellent penalty saver.”
What has modified for Maguire?
Ten Hag complained on quite a few events final season that Maguire didn’t produce the shape for United he has proven on England obligation.
Regardless of such a bleak backdrop, it does appear the defender is beginning to change his supervisor’s thoughts.
He was man of the match at Bramall Lane on the weekend and now has a primary objective since February 2022.
Maguire can be taking part in on the left facet of central defence, which is the place he operated earlier than Ten Hag changed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as supervisor.
The Dutchman instantly moved Maguire to create area for the arrival of Lisandro Martinez, the combative Argentina defender who’s sidelined following foot surgical procedure.
“He is rather more proactive in possession, passing vertically, defending on the entrance foot, stepping in, and could be very assured in duels,” stated Ten Hag.
“I believe he is dominating in the suitable second, dominating his opponents.
“After which he will get rewarded – it is an excellent ability for him, his heading – I’ve to say an awesome cross from Christian as properly and an excellent end.”