Harry Maguire says Eric ten Haig has brought “energy” and “positive vibes” to Manchester United and insists that retaining captaincy has given him “a lot of confidence”.
Ten Haig has enjoyed an impressive start to his new assignment since replacing interim coach Ralph Rangnick at the end of last season, with United’s 4–0 win over Liverpool during the pre-season to their last season. The short reign has extraordinary results.
The Dutchman prepares for his first competitive Test against Brighton in the Premier League on Sunday – LIVE ON sky game – And Maguire believes United are in the right position to run in the field.
Sunday August 7th at 1:00 pm
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“It’s been really good, obviously a fresh start after last season,” said the United captain Vicky Gomersall for Sky Sports News’ Super Sunday Matchday,
“Ten Hag brings in a lot of energy, a lot of positive vibes and the boys have bought it really well so far.
“It was only pre-season but we are fit and ready to go. We are looking forward to the season.”
‘Major reforms needed in 2022/23’
Ten Haag’s meticulous work has been evident during his time at United so far, charged with overseeing a major rebuild at Old Trafford.
Over the course of the summer, it was clear that the drill Ten Haig was putting into his players – quick reaction, certainty in transition, confidence on the ball and consistency without it – had been taken on board.
The 52-year-old will be seeking a significant improvement over the last campaign – when United recorded their lowest points in the Premier League era – and Maguire insists fans deserve better.
“It’s all about winning club trophies. We’ve seen a lot of improvement from where we were last season,” Maguire said.
“Last year was nowhere near acceptable for this club. We got out of the cup early, we didn’t give our fans anything to look forward to.
“We have to make sure that we are in these competitions for the bulk of the season and that in time for March we are still playing these major competitions and major games.
“Last season, in the last two or three months, we were playing on Saturdays, Saturdays, Saturdays and this club is not used to that and shouldn’t.
“We were out of every cup and didn’t do well in the league. We have to see a huge improvement in performance and give our fans something to get excited about.
“You can always find excuses in everyday life and we just have to look at ourselves. Individually, we didn’t do well and the team ultimately didn’t do well collectively.”
‘Man Utd’s captaincy is a big honour’
Maguire’s performance has been the most criticized for United’s disappointing 2021/22 campaign, with some even suggesting that he should be dropped from captaincy.
Maguire has been booed by United and England fans in recent months and according to a new study – conducted by the Alan Turing Institute in collaboration with Ofcom – Cristiano Ronaldo is the only Premier League player to receive more abuse than him on Twitter.
However, Ten Haig has not allowed outside noise to influence his decision and has shown his support for Maguire, confirming that he will keep the armband.
“Now that I have captained the club under three managers, it gives me a lot of confidence and confidence in what I see in that space and around the dressing room,” Maguire said.
“It’s a huge honor to be captain of this club. I know how much media speculation it generates and I’m used to it now, I’m big enough to come to terms with it. I look forward to leading this.” Team up again in the season.
Asked if he ever thought of not captaining, he replied: “No, not at all. It’s a great honour, a great privilege to be playing for this club, but to be captain and the boys at Old Trafford.” It’s wonderful to lead. Emotion.
“I have seen many ups and downs in my career. I am at a stage where I am a seasoned player now – 29 years old.
“I’ve played a lot of games for my country and in the Premier League. I think I can take the criticism and media speculation that comes with it.
“Everyone likes to talk positively and everyone at this club has been in the past so you know that feeling but you also know the spirit of criticism, and the way you’ve got to respond.
“The first two years at the club we were on a good track and improving as a team. Last year was a big blow for me, but also as a team and as a club. We need to make sure that Let’s take it forward again.”
Maguire: Good for Martinez | Switching to the right is no problem
Despite retaining the captaincy, Maguire has had to adapt to a minor change in the situation following the arrival of new signing Lysandro Martinez.
The Argentine, who arrived from Ajax last month in a deal worth up to £57m, plays primarily as a left-sided centre-back, but Maguire insists switching to the right is not a problem.
“It’s great to have her inside,” he said. “I’ve played left and right all my career, I started on the right from a young age and moved to the left towards the end at Leicester. I really don’t have a preference.
“I know a lot of people do, but I’ve played with England many more times. As long as I can help the team and be involved, that’s what I want.
“It’s great to have him in the building. The more players the better, I see it that way, the more you can bring in to help us compete for major trophies.
“That’s what I want for this club, I want it to be successful and win trophies. The more competition, the more high-quality players will enable us to do that.”
‘Ronaldo is a fantastic character’
Maguire was also asked about the influence of United teammate Cristiano Ronaldo, whose future has become the subject of intense speculation in recent weeks.
Ronaldo has told the club that he wants to quit playing Champions League football and was featured for only 45 minutes of United’s pre-season in a friendly against Rio Vallecano last weekend.
Asked what Ronaldo has brought to the team after the five-time Ballon d’Or winner returned to Old Trafford, Maguire said: “Goal. Cristiano is a fantastic player and character.
“I know what it’s like to have so much speculation around him but he takes most of it. Everything he does is scrutinized to an extent.
“That’s what you get when you play for this club, its size. On the other hand, when things go well you get a lot of praise, that’s football.”
Ten Hugs: Similarities Between Man Utd and Ajax
Before his first competitive game in charge, Ten sat down with Haig sky game and discussed their management journey.
After a hugely successful spell with Ajax, where he won six trophies including three Eredivisie titles, the Dutchman is determined to make United competitive again.
“It’s the next level, but I think there are a lot of similarities,” Ten Haag said. We know what Manchester United means and that is trophies.
“At the moment, we are obviously not there but we have to get back there.
“With hard work and togetherness however we can do it. We have to do it together and it starts with the belief that we can do it.”
Man Utd fixtures: Ten Haag’s debut against Brighton on Sky
Eric ten Haig’s first Premier League game as Manchester United manager will be against Brighton at Old Trafford, LIVE sky gameOn the opening Super Sunday of the 2022/23 season.
After Graham Potter faces the seagull on Sunday, August 7, go live sky game, United traveled to Brentford in the second round of fixtures before hosting rivals Liverpool in a blockbuster opening season clash over the weekend of 20 August.
United’s visit to the Etihad Stadium for the first Manchester derby of the season on 1 October begins a rough month, with Ten Hague side traveling to Everton and Chelsea and hosting Tottenham, Newcastle and West Ham.
The final game before the season halts for the Winter World Cup will be against Fulham over the weekend of 12/13 November. United then returned to action on Boxing Day at Fulham. A home match against promoted Bournemouth will be introduced in 2023. Premier League champions Manchester City are at Old Trafford on 14 January, a return trip to Anfield on 4 March, while United will conclude their season at home at Fulham on 28 May.
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