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Roy Keane claims Man United players are ‘frightened to DEATH’ to press high because ‘there’s always a worry’ with how Harry Maguire will cope against a ball over the top

  • Roy Keane believes Harry Maguire is the cause of Man United’s pressing problems
  • United’s pressing has often been inconsistent this season, leaving huge gaps
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Roy Keane believes Harry Maguire is stopping his Manchester United teammates from subjecting themselves to aggressive press.

The United legend believes the team are ‘terrified’ to commit fully, fearing Maguire could be caught with a ball over the top.

Following their 2-1 defeat to Fulham at Old Trafford on Saturday, Jamie Carragher condemned United for their inconsistent defensive line-up and lack of pace in defense and midfield.

Keane believes Maguire is at the root of the problem, which has seen huge holes in midfield as some players push forward and others hold back.

‘They don’t push. “I don’t want to blame it all on (Harry) Maguire, but there is always that worry of Maguire coming forward and squeezing the field like all the other top teams do,” he told the club. Stick to football podcast, brought to you by Sky bet.

Roy Keane thinks Manchester United players are ‘terrified’ over fear of exposing Harry Maguire

Manchester United's press is disjointed and Keane thinks players are holding back

Manchester United’s press is disjointed and Keane thinks players are holding back

‘There is constant concern with him – there are gaps there. They’re terrified of coming all the way up because they think, “If he did anything over the top, he’d get in trouble.”

Carragher also elaborated on his comments from the weekend, adding: ‘Teams are now pressing from the front, pressing high and everyone is on the halfway line.

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

A string of under-scoring affairs in recent games have masked the fact that United’s defense has been incredibly leaky for much of the season.

They scored four goals against Copenhagen and Bayern Munich, and three against Galatasaray (twice), Manchester City, Newcastle, Bournemouth and Wolves.

The defensive conundrum has been a persistent problem for Erik ten Hag, who at one point even experimented by dropping Raphael Varane for a number of games in favor of Jonny Evans.

After the defeat to Wolves, in which Alex Iwobi scored an agonizing winner in the 97th minute, the pundits were confused.

Carragher used his five-minute analysis spot on Sky Sports' Monday Night Football to focus on Man United's defence

Carragher used his five-minute analysis spot on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football to focus on Man United’s defence

United have been plagued by defensive problems this season, conceding four against Copenhagen

United have been plagued by defensive problems this season, conceding four against Copenhagen

Carragher told Sky Sports: ‘WWe discuss why they are poor defensively and cannot handle counter-attacks.

‘They have no pace at the back and they have too few legs in midfield. Another big problem for them is when they have the ball.”

‘These players cannot receive the ball in the positions they occupy, so actually there is a huge problem for Manchester United when they have the ball.

‘How many times have we seen Manchester United players run forty yards back towards their own goal?’ he added.

Gael Clichy joined Carragher in his analysis, adding: ‘The compactness of Manchester United is gone, a simple pass will take out maybe six United players and what you see is a four against three.’

Carragher replied: ‘The most important thing in defending is to be compact, it won’t go out of style.’

Roy Keane spoke at the Stick to football podcast, brought to you by Sky bet.


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