EPL

Rangnick will not drop Maguire despite poor form

By Sports Desk February 14, 2022

Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick will not drop Harry Maguire not strip him of the captaincy but insists he needs to get better.

Maguire has been culpable defensively in United's recent 1-1 draws with Burnley and Southampton.

Rangnick conceded the 28-year-old record signing needed to get better, revealing he is struggling to adjust to United's back four.

"I think after he came back after his injury he did extremely well, with a very good performance against West Ham," Rangnick told reporters ahead of United's Tuesday game with Brighton and Hove Albion.

"In the last two games he had some weaker moments, both against Southampton and when we conceded the goal against Burnley.

"He is our captain and I don't see any reason to change that, but he is a player who has to develop and get better, like all the other players.

"The way we play is new. In the English national team he is used to playing in a back three, here he's in a back four but not as proactive. It will take some time for him to get used to it."

Maguire, who joined United for £80 million in 2019, has made 19 starts in the league this season for the Red Devils who have kept five clean sheets from 24 games.

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    Gareth Southgate admits England have fallen short of expectations thus far at Euro 2024, bemoaning their failure to find a replacement for Kalvin Phillips in midfield.

    Having opened their Group C campaign with an unconvincing 1-0 win over Serbia last week, England failed to clinch top spot with a game to spare as they were pegged back in a 1-1 draw with Denmark on Thursday.

    Harry Kane put the Three Lions ahead after 18 minutes, but they soon fell into old habits and sat deeper against a lively Denmark side, who levelled through Morten Hjulmand's ferocious 25-yard strike.

    While England remain on course to top Group C, sitting two points clear of Denmark and Slovenia, who they face on matchday three, their performance put Southgate under more scrutiny.

    England have attempted just 17 shots – seven of them on target – in their two games at Euro 2024, amassing a total of 1.85 expected goals (xG).

    Scotland are the only team to have played two matches and created a lower xG total, amassing just 0.78 in their 5-1 defeat to Germany and a 1-1 draw with Switzerland.

    Speaking at his post-match press conference, Southgate said: "Clearly, we're disappointed with the level of the two performances we've had, so we've got to go and analyse that in depth and find solutions to addressing the issues we have.

    "We know the level can be higher. Maybe the biggest thing is we have to accept the environment that we're in and the expectations that are around us. At the moment, we're falling a little bit short of that.

    "Ultimately, that's my responsibility. I'm the manager, and I've got to guide this group in the best way possible to achieve extraordinary things."

    Trent Alexander-Arnold came in for particular criticism after retaining his place in midfield, despite no England player bettering his three chances created or five line-breaking passes, even as he was substituted after just 54 minutes.

    In their 2-1 extra-time win over Denmark in the Euro 2020 semi-finals, England recorded 31 per cent of their open-play touches in the final third.

    That figure was down to 17 per cent on Thursday as they struggled to progress the ball, with 34 per cent of their touches coming in their own third.

    Southgate believes the absence of Phillips – who was omitted from the squad after failing to nail down a starting spot with either Manchester City or loan club West Ham – has been a difficult problem to solve.

    Asked about Alexander-Arnold's display, Southgate told BBC Sport: "He has had some moments where he has delivered as we thought. 

    "It’s an experiment. We don't have a natural replacement for Kalvin Phillips. At the moment we're not flowing as we would like.

    "At the moment we're not using the ball well enough and have to accept if you do that you will suffer at times, as we have. We know there's another level we have to find."

  • Seattle Sounders v FC Dallas: Hat-trick hero Musa excited by new attacking style Seattle Sounders v FC Dallas: Hat-trick hero Musa excited by new attacking style

    Petar Musa scored a hat-trick in FC Dallas’ thrilling win over Minnesota United in midweek, and he is thrilled with the attacking set-up under interim coach Peter Luccin.

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    “We are more offensive now, we have a lot of players who run behind and we started playing more attacking football.

    "We scored five goals at home so you can see from the build-up that we play attacking soccer. I am very happy about the new style we are implementing.”

    Luccin added: “I’m thankful and grateful for the effort from the players. It’s very important for me that the effort has been fantastic. I’m very pleased with some of the sequences that we had, playing good football and very vertical.

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    “I’m sure they would’ve liked fewer goals conceded but it’s part of the game. We are making progress. It’ll be step-by-step but you can see the attitude from the players is excellent. They want to play, they understand. Now we need to adjust to find that balance. I really think we deserved to win.”

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    Dallas are one place and two points below Seattle in the Western Conference.

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    Seattle Sounders – Jackson Ragen

    Ragen scored his first MLS goal in Seattle's 2-2 draw with the Houston Dynamo last time out. He is the seventh different player from the United States to score for the Sounders in MLS play this season, equalling their number from all of last season.

    FC Dallas – Petar Musa

    Musa’s hat-trick took him onto eight MLS goals for the season, four more than any other team-mate.

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  • Kane calls for calm but accepts England not good enough Kane calls for calm but accepts England not good enough

    Harry Kane called for some perspective following England's 1-1 Euro 2024 draw against Denmark but accepts his side were not good enough.

    England failed to build on a 1-0 win over Serbia in their Group C opener as they saw Kane's opener cancelled out by Morten Hjulmand in Thursday's match in Frankfurt.

    Gareth Southgate's side once again failed to push on after taking the lead in a game and supporters made their frustrations known.

    The draw means England have still yet to ever win their first two matches at a European Championship, with their place in the last 16 not yet certain.

    And Kane - the third man to score at four different major tournaments for England along with Michael Owen and Wayne Rooney - admits an improvement is needed.

    "We're struggling with and without the ball," he told BBC Sport. "The pressing in both games hasn't been quite right, and with the ball we haven't been good enough – that's from top to bottom, from me to Picks (Jordan Pickford). 

    "It was tough out there with the heat and the pitch. It wasn't our greatest game but we got away with a draw.

    "There's no easy games at major tournaments and I think that's being shown. There are levels we can reach, with and without the ball, but it’s a sign of a good team that you can get results when you’re not playing well."

    England sit top of Group C with four points from two matches and will guarantee a place in the knockouts with a draw against Slovenia on Tuesday, while a win sees them through in top spot.

    "We're top of the group and we've all but qualified," added Kane, who was substituted with 20 minutes to go. "I know there’ll be loads of noise and a bit of disappointment at home, but we experienced this when we drew with Scotland in the last Euros. 

     

    "It's a time to stay calm, reflect and try to improve. Step by step, we'll get there."

    Kane's opener was his fifth goal at the Euros, making him the first England player and the eighth from any country to score five or more in both this competition and the World Cup.

    However, Hjulmand levelled 16 minutes later with a shot from 30 yards - his first goal for Denmark in all competitions on what was his ninth appearance - and England could not find a response of their own.

    Southgate's side dropped deep after going in front, as they did against Serbia and have done in recent tournaments, and Kane believes that is an area that needs working on.

    "It’s not just when we score that [we drop deep]," he said. "It's something we need to get better at. When the teams drop a few players deeper, we're not sure how who's supposed to be pressing. 

    "In the second half we tried to change it a bit with me and Jude [Bellingham] playing in front of their two midfielders and then trying to get up. But it was difficult. Credit to Denmark, they’re a really good side and they carried a threat."

    England have now won just two of their past eight competition meetings with Denmark, and this most recent result means they are unable to rest up against Slovenia.

    Reflecting on the disappointing performance, Southgate told BBC Sport: "The performance was not what we would have hoped. At the moment we're not using the ball well enough, and if you do that you'll suffer as we have at times tonight. There's another level we have to find.

    "There's a huge amount of work to do - that's evident. We have to stay tight. We understand people will be disappointed with the performances, and rightly so. We've got make them better."

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