Maguire hopeful 'sickening' racist abuse won't mar Partizan clash

By Sports Desk October 23, 2019

Harry Maguire is hopeful Manchester United will not have to experience a repeat of the "sickening" racist abuse that marred England's trip to Bulgaria when they visit Partizan Belgrade on Thursday.

United face Savo Milosevic's side in the Europa League after the Serbian outfit were forced to play their previous two UEFA home matches behind closed doors following "racist behaviour of supporters" when they hosted Yeni Malatyaspor in the third qualifying round.

The Group L game also follows Serbia's national team being hit with a two-game stadium ban – one suspended for 12 months – after a similar incident against Portugal in September.

Maguire played in England's 6-0 win over Bulgaria in Euro 2020 qualifying earlier this month, which was twice stopped during the first half after visiting players were subjected to racist chants.

Those stoppages formed part of UEFA's three-step protocol – whereby a match is first paused, then suspended for a period, before ultimately being abandoned on the third instance of racist abuse – but Maguire is confident the match in Belgrade will pass without any major incidents.

"We will trust UEFA to follow their protocol," he told a media conference. "Sofia was sickening and something I don't want to be part of again.

"We are confident tomorrow will be a positive atmosphere. If something does go off, we will follow the three-step protocol."

United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer echoed Maguire's sentiments and has faith that UEFA will implement their protocol should racist abuse be heard.

"In the aftermath of what happened in Bulgaria, we had a meeting with the boys and we have gone through the protocol," he said.

"I believe in the good of people and the atmosphere will be fantastic. We trust UEFA and hopefully it will be a celebration of good football."

Solskjaer also reiterated United's stance on clamping down on racist incidents involving their own supporters after one was alleged to have engaged in abuse during Sunday's 1-1 draw with Liverpool.

"I'm happy the club have identified whatever you want to call him and it's something we feel strongly about," he added. "We will stamp down as much as we can."

Related items

  • Man Utd great Schmeichel backs De Gea to go on for a decade Man Utd great Schmeichel backs De Gea to go on for a decade

    Peter Schmeichel has insisted David de Gea is the right goalkeeper for Manchester United and could play on for another decade.

    De Gea's form has been a huge talking point, with the Spain international struggling to maintain the performances which saw him become one of the world's best goalkeepers.

    The 29-year-old has made a number of high profile mistakes for United, most recently a calamitous error in a 1-1 draw with Tottenham, which drew robust criticism from Schmeichel's former team-mate Roy Keane.

    However, United great Schmeichel, who De Gea will overtake as the overseas player with the most appearances for the club the next time he plays, has given the former Atletico Madrid man his full support.

    "He’s been tremendous for us, there’s no doubt about that," Schmeichel told MUTV.

    "He stuck it through in the most difficult period of modern-day Manchester United history. It's been up and down and, basically, he has been our best player.

    "There's no doubt about that. Four out of five years being our Player of the Year. That just tells its own story about his performances for the club.

    "David is our number one – he's still a young lad, by the way.

    "He could play on for another 10 years. Let's back him. We should support what we have because we know what we have is really good."

    Schmeichel also suggested the more attacking approach favoured by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is bound to leave De Gea more exposed.

    "It's easy to just blame the goalkeeper, but I'm not going to," Schmeichel added.

    "I'm trying to make a case that every goalkeeper needs to be protected and there's no doubt that the way the team is playing now, as opposed to when a team plays more defensively, the type of chances that you concede fit into David’s best skills.

    "Those kind of saves we've seen came from chances created by being defensive.

    "At the moment, we are attacking a lot and that leaves strikers man-to-man. It becomes like a counter-attack. These are the kind of goals we are conceding now.

    "I think he needs a bit of time to adjust to the way we are playing. If you’re a goalkeeper that has been busy for three or four years, and now you're not busy, you have to change your game a little bit. You need to find new ways of keeping your concentration, of staying with the game."

  • Crystal Palace 2-3 Chelsea: Abraham strike proves decisive in Selhurst thriller Crystal Palace 2-3 Chelsea: Abraham strike proves decisive in Selhurst thriller

    Chelsea climbed to third place in the Premier League with a thrilling 3-2 victory over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Tuesday.

    Frank Lampard's Champions League hopefuls surged ahead with goals from Olivier Giroud and Christian Pulisic, before Wilfried Zaha hit back in stunning fashion.

    Giroud's opener came after just six minutes as the visitors capitalised on the misfortune of former Chelsea player Gary Cahill.

    The in-form Pulisic doubled the Blues' lead in emphatic style before the half-hour mark, but Zaha's wonder-strike kept the away side on their toes.

    Tammy Abraham's cool 71st-minute finish was followed promptly by a Christian Benteke tap-in, but Roy Hodgson's men were still condemned to a fourth straight defeat after Scott Dann was denied by the post at the death.

    Chelsea broke the deadlock when Cahill appeared to pull a hamstring chasing Reece James' ball in behind, allowing Willian time and space to pick out Giroud to steer home from close range.

    With Cahill off injured, Palace's day went from bad to worse when Pulisic lashed in from 12 yards, with Willian again providing the assist. 

    The lively Willian went close to a grabbing a goal of his own, but Vicente Guaita proved equal to the Brazilian's side-footed effort.

    Palace sprung into action in a spectacular manner soon after, Zaha arrowing a glorious strike beyond Kepa Arrizabalaga from 30 yards.

    Abraham's precise finish from Ruben Loftus-Cheek's neat pass appeared to put the game to bed but Chelsea switched off and Patrick van Aanholt laid on an unmissable chance for Benteke barely a minute later.

    However, Palace were unable to complete the comeback, with Dann's header hitting the upright deep into stoppage time as Chelsea, beaten 3-2 in their previous away game at West Ham, reversed that scoreline this time.

    What does it mean? Chelsea hunting Foxes

    It is tight in the battle for a top-four finish, with Chelsea putting five points between themselves and fifth-placed Manchester United. They also edged ahead of Leicester City and into third ahead of the Foxes' clash with Arsenal. Palace, meanwhile, stay 14th.

    Willian the key to unlock Palace

    Willian, who had two assists, has now been involved in five goals since the resumption of the Premier League campaign, only behind Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes (six) as the division's most productive player in that time frame. He created a game-high five chances.

    A reunion to forget for Cahill

    Cahill won two top-flight titles and the Champions League with Chelsea, but this reunion with his old club will not make the scrap book. He was not to blame for the opener, as pure bad luck saw him struck by injury at exactly the wrong moment.

    What's next?

    Chelsea head to Sheffield United on Saturday, with Palace taking on struggling Aston Villa on the road the next day.

  • Watford 2-1 Norwich City: Welbeck stunner boosts hosts' survival hopes Watford 2-1 Norwich City: Welbeck stunner boosts hosts' survival hopes

    Danny Welbeck scored a magnificent overhead kick as Watford came from behind to defeat Norwich City 2-1 and boost their Premier League survival hopes.

    With the match level 10 minutes into the second half at Vicarage Road, Welbeck produced a superb acrobatic finish from 14 yards to settle the contest after Ismaila Sarr's cross deflected into his path.

    A fine curling strike from Emiliano Buendia had earlier given Norwich a fourth-minute lead, but Craig Dawson promptly headed in Etienne Capoue's free-kick from close range to equalise.

    Welbeck's first top-flight goal since August 2018 moved Watford four points clear of the drop zone, piling the pressure on Aston Villa and Bournemouth, while bottom-of-the-table Norwich are all but mathematically down.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.