Harry Maguire insisted there was no “big crisis” at Manchester United despite their poor start to the season as they bounced back to beat Newcastle United 4-1 at St James’ Park.
United headed into the international break at a low ebb after suffering a 6-1 home humiliation at the hands of Tottenham – a second defeat in their opening three Premier League games this term.
But after a fortnight away – in which time Maguire’s form was again placed under the microscope amid an England red card – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side responded in Saturday’s match.
They trailed to Luke Shaw’s dismal second-minute own goal, yet Maguire headed in the equaliser and United’s patience finally paid in the closing stages.
Dominant for much of the match but still level after Bruno Fernandes saw a penalty saved, Solskjaer’s men finally got their breakthrough as the Portugal midfielder made amends and then both Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Marcus Rashford got in on the act.
Maguire was delighted with the reaction from his team but dismissed the crisis talk, telling Sky Sports: “I wouldn’t say we have answered [the critics].
“It’s funny, three games into the season and it seems like a big crisis. Won two, lost two. There is a long way to go, we have to improve.
“When you play for this club and get beat at home, we ask questions. We work hard in training – it is a great group – and we knew we had to bounce back.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) October 17, 2020
“I felt it would have been really harsh if we came away with just a point. It is a fully deserved win.
“It was important. Every game in the Premier League, we want to be on top. Some games we will not be at our best but we have to do the basics well. In the games we lost, we didn’t do the basics well.
“We knew we needed to get three points and we managed to do so. We’ve got a tough run coming up.
“We are still a young team, but we won’t use that as an excuse. It was disappointing to start like we had, but it was a big performance tonight when we needed it.”
Newcastle became the first opponents Maguire has scored twice against in the Premier League, having also netted for Leicester City, but team-mate Fernandes looked set to be frustrated for long periods.
The January signing had not missed any of his prior 10 penalties for United but could not beat Karl Darlow from 12 yards.
Fernandes made sure to get the Red Devils back on track himself, though, scoring in the 86th minute and also creating the fourth goal for Rashford with 96 minutes on the clock.
He told BBC’s Match of the Day: “I already change [the penalty technique] sometimes. Today it didn’t work.
“I need to do what is better for the game; today was not the right choice but it doesn’t matter. I missed the penalty and have to keep improving in the next games.”