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Man United players “frightened to death” of tactic due to Harry Maguire, claims Roy Keane



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Roy Keane has explained that he feels Manchester United players are frightened of pressing up the pitch due to the presence of Harry Maguire.

Erik ten Hag‘s second season at Manchester United has not gone to plan, with the Old Trafford club languishing sixth in the Premier League table and out of the Champions League.

On Wednesday evening, the side put themselves into the FA Cup quarter-finals thanks to a 1-0 win over Nottingham Forest. However, with the side once again plagued with injuries, tactical issues are continuing.

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Former United captain Roy Keane believes that the squad are frightened of pressing high up the pitch, which is something Ten Hag instructs them to do, and they are said of this due to the presence of Harry Maguire in defence.

“They aren’t pressing up,” Keane told the Stick to Football podcast. “I don’t want to be just pinning it on [Harry] Maguire, but there’s always that worry with Maguire coming up and squeezing the pitch like all the other top teams are doing.

“There’s that worry with him all the time – that’s where there is gaps. They are frightened to death to come all the way up because they’re thinking, ‘anything over the top, he’d be in trouble’.”

Jamie Carragher, who has been critical of Ten Hag’s tactical set-ups lately, further expanded on Keane’s point, explaining how gaps are being created due to this disjointed set-up manner.

“Teams now press from the front, press high, and everyone is on the halfway line,” the former Liverpool defender explained.

“Man United are trying to do two different things; the front six were going man-to-man pressing (against Fulham), and the back four were miles behind them. You’re either one or the other.”