Harry Maguire Admits Man Utd Players Must Learn 'Basics of Football'

Matt O'Connor-Simpson
Dec 9, 2020, 10:20 AM GMT
Maguire made an error for Leipzig's third goal
Maguire made an error for Leipzig's third goal | Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Manchester United captain Harry Maguire bemoaned his side's failure to do the "basics of football" during their 3-2 defeat to RB Leipzig, a result which sent them crashing out of the Champions League.

United were 2-0 down inside 13 minutes at the Red Bull Arena with the hosts scoring two near identical goals - both of which were preventable. A comedy of defensive errors involving Victor Lindelof, Maguire and David de Gea then allowed the hosts to add a third in the second half, before the Red Devils, as so they so often do, rallied late on with a couple of late goals.

After the game, Maguire fronted up to the press, and admitted that United's defending had been poor, particularly in the opening exchanges.

"It wasn't good enough for the first 20 minutes. We weren't at it," Maguire confessed, quoted by MailOnline Sport. "We had great belief, we came close (to equalising) at the end, but ultimately we have to stop giving goals away and falling behind. I don't want to look at excuses.

"There are 11 bodies out there who have to do the basics of football. We started the game too slowly. We failed to deal with crosses and that is why we were beaten. We’ve got to do more."

United's poor defending was particularly frustrating for manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as a draw would have been enough to see his side safely through to the knockout stages. However, instead of keeping it tight, Leipzig opened them up time after time with a string of diagonal passes to their forward thinking wing-backs.

Maguire was devastated at the final whistle
Maguire was devastated at the final whistle | DeFodi Images/Getty Images

The Norwegian agreed with Maguire regarding the nature of United's defending, but insisted that his players 'can't feel sorry for themselves' for too long as they turn their attention to this weekend's Manchester Derby.

As far as Europe goes, the Red Devils now drop into the Europa League Round of 32, a competition they reached the semi-finals of last season before bowing out to eventual winners Sevilla.