Alongside McTominay: Man Utd’s “sloppy” 79-touch dud looked “lost” again vs Fulham

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After defeating Fulham at Old Trafford on Sunday night, Manchester United kept up their pursuit of the FA Cup championship. Erik ten Hag’s team took advantage of the visitors’ bizarre collapse to advance to the semifinals.

After a shaky first 70 minutes or so from the Red Devils, the game was turned on its head when Willian, Marco Silva, and that man Mitrovic all received red cards as the hosts were given the opportunity to equalize from the penalty spot. After the break, the away team took a well-deserved lead thanks to Aleksandar Mitrovic.

Bruno Fernandes, a Portuguese playmaker, took advantage of the situation to tie the score and then clinch United’s advancement with two late goals. Bruno’s clinical goals came either side of a deft flick from January signing Marcel Sabitzer, which was a great way for the Austrian to score his first goal for the team.

Ten Hag will definitely be concerned by the style of the home team’s performance on the day, since club legend Roy Keane suggested that United were “so bad” for the entirety of the game, despite the joy — and evident relief — of pulling off that late comeback.

Harry Maguire, the club captain, appeared to be a key antagonist for the former Ajax manager against the Cottagers. According to writer Hesham Bilal-Hafiz, the peripheral Englishman simply appeared “lost” in his central defensive berth.

How did Maguire fare in the matchup with Fulham?

Raphael Varane, the team’s usual starter, was unable to play, so Maguire was selected to start the match for the second time in a row after putting on a competent but unspectacular performance against Real Betis midweek. Of note, he won five of his seven duels in Seville.

The 30-year-old did win five of his seven duels again this time around, but it was far from a calm performance from the towering dud, who was recently picked in Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions team despite his lack of regular game time at club level.

According to Adam Crafton of The Athletic, the center-and back’s teammate Scott McTominay’s “sloppy defense” in the second half led to a chance for Antonee Robinson, and Maguire also received a card for carelessly dragging Mitrovic to the ground.

The former Leicester City player will be suspended for the semi-final match against Brighton and Hove Albion as a result of that yellow card, but few people will be upset about the ‘blow’ given that the Red Devils captain repeatedly infuriated the Old Trafford crowd yesterday with his clumsy and slow manner in possession.

While Lisandro Martinez, a center-back teammate, has frequently garnered praise for his skill with the ball and has been praised by Crafton for his line-breaking, “sharp passes,” the Sheffield native undoubtedly causes trepidation when attempting to play out from the back because he is “slow to release the ball,” in Crafton’s words.

With rumors that the struggling player may be leaving Manchester United this summer, the respected writer said that such a performance, in which the £190,000 per week player lost possession eight times out of his 79 touches, felt like “another signal of the end for Maguire at Man United”.

Martinez actually stood out on a day when the 6’4″ dud only “regressed,” according to Manchester Evening News writer Samuel Luckhurst. The Argentine fighter had once again been “outstanding,” according to Luckhurst.

The huge disparity in talent between the two players is making it difficult for Maguire to establish himself as a regular member of the club; the wobbly, unsteady defender appears to lack confidence both in himself and in the home crowd.

The former Hull City star was not the only one to struggle on Sunday; McTominay was also substituted early in the second half after picking up just a single victory; however, that lackluster performance served as yet another reminder of why the heavily scrutinized defender may benefit from a fresh start away from Manchester next season.

On the basis of yesterday’s performance, he is more likely to hurt United than to help them going forward.

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