Erik ten Hag said Harry Maguire has improved drastically in recent games and praised his ‘front-foot’ defending.
After a tough start to the season, the defender returned to the team for the last three games and Manchester United have earned wins over Brentford, Sheffield United and Copenhagen. Maguire was man of the match at Bramall Lane on Saturday and scored the only goal of the match as the Red Devils beat Copenhagen in the Champions League.
It caps a momentous and rapid turnaround for the ex-Leicester City star, who was selected at the heart of defence above Victor Lindelof on Tuesday night. Speaking after the win at Old Trafford, on a night where United marked Sir Bobby Charlton’s passing, Ten Hag said he has seen a vast improvement from the no.5 over the last three encounters.
“He is playing much more proactive in possession, stepping in, passing vertical, defending also on the front foot. He is also stepping in and defending forward," said the Dutchman.
"He is very confident, in the duels he is dominating, is aggressive in the right moments and dominating his opponents. Then you see also a very good skill from him, his heading. I have to say it was a great pass from Christian [Erisken] as well, but a very good finish [for the goal].
Maguire wasn’t the only hero to emerge from Tuesday’s match, with Andre Onana’s injury-time penalty save earning the Red Devils a crucial three points in the Champions League group. The Cameroon keeper, like Maguire, has endured a tough start to the campaign, but his stop from Jordan Larsson could provide a huge boost of confidence for the former Inter Milan stopper.
“He showed personality and he knows that before was not at the levels what his skills are,” Ten Hag said on Tuesday. “He didn’t match his skills and he could do better.
“I think Saturday was a very good performance, today as well, also don’t forget his save half time on the counter attack. One of his skills is he is a very good penalty saver.”
The win leaves United on three points after three games, one behind second-placed Galatasaray.