EPL

Rangnick hails 'flawless' Maguire as Fernandes suggests media influence

By Sports Desk April 02, 2022

Ralf Rangnick labelled Harry Maguire's performance in Manchester United's 1-1 draw with Leicester City "flawless" after the defender was booed while playing for England, as Bruno Fernandes suggested the media were partly responsible.

Interim United manager Rangnick also praised the reception given to Maguire by the Old Trafford faithful, with the 29-year-old having been booed during England's friendly against Ivory Coast on Tuesday.

Maguire has attracted criticism for his displays in a United defence that has kept just seven Premier League clean sheets this season, a tally worse than nine other top-flight sides.

Rangnick, however, was impressed with Maguire's solid display against his former team on Saturday.

"The reaction of our supporters [to Maguire] was as it always is," Rangnick told Sky Sports.

"They are one of the best [fanbases], if not the best, in England. 

"Harry played well, he had a flawless game today both defensively and offensively. It was a solid performance from him."

Midfielder Fernandes came to his team-mate's defence, claiming the media's coverage of Maguire's displays could have contributed to the jeers heard at Wembley.

"It's tough that your own country boos you in a game for the national team," Fernandes told Sky Sports. "It's maybe because of the media. 

"It wasn't because of his performance, he played really well in that game. Sometimes the media should think a little bit more when they do things."

Maguire's display may have been perfect in the eyes of Rangnick, but it did not help United claim three much-needed points against Leicester.

Kelechi Iheanacho opened the scoring for the visitors before Fred equalised, though VAR spared United's blushes when James Maddison had a goal disallowed in a game that ultimately finished 1-1.

United have won just one of their last six games in all competitions and are three points behind fourth-placed Arsenal having played two games more.

Rangnick's team are also winless in their last four league meetings with Leicester, having won seven of the previous eight.

Though their chances of securing Champions League qualification look slim, with West Ham, Arsenal and Tottenham all still to play, Rangnick has pledged to fight hard.

"The second half was the better one," he said. "I think for most of the first half we were struggling to find our rhythm, maybe because of the long [international] break.

"The second half was better, but giving a goal away on a transitional moment didn't make it easy.

"I think the reaction after the goal we conceded was good, we came back and scored a goal, then had two or three good moments where we could have scored the winning goal, but we didn't.

"In the end we are not happy with the result, but the second half was okay.

"As long as it [fourth place] is possible mathematically, it is possible. It is our job and duty to do our best to finish on the best possible note."

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