Harry Maguire admits he is struggling to fathom Manchester United’s inability to beat the smaller sides, following the club’s disappointing defeat to bottom club Watford this weekend.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side’s hopes of securing a top four finish took a huge blow with a 2-0 defeat at Vicarage Road, a howler from goalkeeper David de Gea and Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s clumsy challenge in the penalty area condemning the club to fifth league defeat of the season.
Watford had failed to win any of their previous home fixtures this season and the result continued a worrying trend for Manchester United, who have shone against the leading sides this season but struggled against those languishing near the foot of the division.
Manchester City, Leicester, Chelsea and Tottenham have all been beaten this season with displays of counter-attacking football, while United are the only side to take a point off league leaders, Liverpool, though it has been a different story against the sides further down the table.
Maguire admits it is difficult to assess his side’s struggles against the so-called lesser sides, the club having taken just 12 points from the 12 games against the sides below them, and says the Red Devils must become more clinical in front of goal, citing Jesse Lingard’s early miss as an example of their wastefulness.
“We were sloppy,” a dejected Maguire told Sky Sports.
“As a team gave the ball away numerous times especially in the first half. I feel the game was there to be won. There were gaps for us but we kept being sloppy with the ball.
“We should have scored in the first half. We’ve had best chance of the game, we have to score that. He (Lingard) knows he has got to score.
“It’s a big chance, the first goal is crucial against these sort of teams. I missed one against Newcastle. He missed it and we move on.”
“It’s something we cant put our finger on, we are working hard in training and that’s all we can do. We come prepared. It’s disappointing. When you play the so called lower opposition the first goal is always crucial.”