Club captain Harry Maguire has told his teammates that there is ‘something wrong’ if they are not ready to fight their way out of the club’s poor form.
Maguire gave a very revealing account about United’s decline and he painted a picture of an angry squad and called for professionalism and unity to repair the season.
The United captain isn’t the first player to talk about lack of motivation with Luke Shaw mentioning a disparity between the players after the loss to Wolves last Monday.
Maguire has held discussions with the players and Ralf Rangnick about the side’s poor form which has seen them drop down to seventh in the Premier League. United take on Aston Villa in the FA Cup tomorrow morning with a real need to go on a winning run.
“A lot was written about Sir Alex Ferguson’s teams and the way that he used to spur his players on. He obviously did that brilliantly,” said the United captain.
“I have seen a lot of the criticism and a lot of it is absolutely correct. But for me, with this team, it shouldn’t need criticism to motivate players.
“We are all angry and want to do our best, which has probably come across on the pitch at times. But the team spirit is good despite what people say. Being a professional player, you have to take criticism on the chin and react well to it.”
Maguire dismissed reports about tension in the dressing room and insisted that the team are unified and more ready than ever to go ‘on a winning run’.
On Saturday, Marcus Rashford used his social platforms to deliver a message to United fans insisting that he isn’t unhappy at the club and that he was not sulking over the team’s poor form.
“I have endless respect for both and I’m looking forward to bettering my game under the staff at Manchester United,” wrote Rashford. “I’m not sulking, I am not unhappy, am I disappointed in some of my recent performances? Of course, I am. I’m my own biggest critic.”
Since Rangnick’s appointment, United has won four matches, but the German has told his players that their negative body language is helping opponents. He revealed his concerns at the team’s lack of intensity with United dropping points against Newcastle United and Wolves.
To add to the problems, it looks like Paul Pogba is facing another six weeks on the sidelines. Rangnick said it would be a further four weeks until the Frenchman returns to training and then another two weeks on top of that for him to be match fit.
“As far as I know, it will be at least another three weeks or four weeks and once he is fit for training, it does not mean he is match fit.”
Maguire also spoke about the mentality of the squad, “Sometimes it can be good to have us against the world mentality. It has always been like that for United players and we have to deal with it. The most important thing for us is the fans, we are letting them down.
“This team finished second last year and we have a better and bigger squad this year so we have to show the correct attitude. We have big players in the team, leaders. I’m sick of repeating myself but it can’t continue like this, we need to go on a proper run, starting Monday.”
In light of the recent criticism, it is refreshing to hear the United speak out in defiance against recent reports. Maguire should be back for selection tomorrow evening against Aston Villa which will be crucial for United to get back to winning ways.