Harry Maguire frustrated by officiating but accepts Man Utd have to improve

Simon Peach, PA Chief Football Writer
·5-min read

Harry Maguire knows Manchester United have to improve but the aggrieved skipper claims poor officiating once again hurt Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side in Sunday’s draw at West Brom.

Having been usurped at the top of the Premier League by Manchester City on January 26, the second-placed Red Devils have fallen seven points behind their rivals having managed one win five top-flight games.

Pep Guardiola’s men also boast a match in hand over United, who were held to a shock 1-1 draw at struggling West Brom on Sunday after failing to build on Bruno Fernandes expertly cancelling out Mbaye Diagne’s early header.

Harry Maguire was denied a late winner at West Brom by Albion goalkeeper Sam Johnstone
Harry Maguire was denied a late winner at West Brom by Albion goalkeeper Sam Johnstone (Nick Potts/PA)

Maguire would have grabbed Solskjaer’s side another comeback win at the death had Sam Johnstone not superbly tipped his header onto the post but the captain knows there is work to do.

“Obviously I snuck in the box and timed myself with a great header and it’s a fantastic save to be fair to Sam,” the United defender said.

“I haven’t seen it back but they’re the moments at the moment that aren’t going for us.

“For sure we need to improve, we need to do better, we need to not be waiting until the last kick of the game to create big chances.

“But we dominated the half, we dominated the game and we know that we’re not going to come here and create nine, 10 chances. That doesn’t happen.

“You need to get the first goal and then things open up and the first goal’s crucial.

“But, yeah, we huffed and puffed in the second half and we’ve got to do more, but we dominated the game. We’ve got to take our chances, we’ve got to win the game.”

Maguire likened United’s inability to kick on after levelling to last month’s 2-1 loss to rock-bottom Sheffield United – a result that started this poor run of one win in five league matches.

The defender is still angered by refereeing decisions in that defeat and claimed to MUTV that “ever since other people from other teams have spoke about us we’ve had nothing – absolutely nothing from the referees or the VAR”.

That part of his interview with the in-house TV station has been removed from the clip uploaded to their official website, but his answer about a foul by Diagne on Victor Lindelof being missed remains.

“It’s a big frustration,” Maguire said. “We know the first goal is crucial when you come to this place. But again it’s a foul.

“I’m fed up of hearing ‘Vic can do better’. Of course he can do better and I know he can.

“But I’m fed up of hearing ‘people can do better’. ‘David (De Gea) can do better on the cross (against Sheffield United)’. But it’s a foul, it’s a foul from Billy Sharp on David.

“If you get someone in the back and if a big striker’s wrestling Vic and then puts his arms all over him and heads it in the back of the net, of course he can do better but it’s a foul.

“So, when are we going to get these decisions? Because as defenders and goalkeepers, you expect a fair decision.

“For me, I know Vic will be disappointed in there and I’m sure he’s probably getting criticism, he knows he can do better, but it’s a foul so we shouldn’t even be speaking about this.

Referee Craig Pawson awarded United a penalty but changed his mind after a VAR review
Referee Craig Pawson awarded United a penalty but changed his mind after a VAR review (Nick Potts/PA)

“He’s a big striker who’s bigger than Vic and he’s wrestling him, he’s got his arms all about it, he heads the ball in the back of the net.

“I had one disallowed at Burnley two, three weeks ago and the difference is massive. You can’t tell me that I did more than the striker’s done there!

“So the inconsistency is something that we need to look at.”

The Football Association has reviewed Maguire’s comments on referees but will not be taking any action, the PA news agency understands.

Maguire also saw a penalty he won overturned upon review by referee Craig Pawson at the Hawthorns, where West Brom put in an impressive display and could have won it themselves late on.

Kyle Bartley (right) was proud of his team's efforts
Kyle Bartley (right) was proud of his team’s efforts (Naomi Baker/PA)

Baggies captain Kyle Bartley said: “We knew it was going to be a difficult game for us.

“I’m really proud of the commitment and the discipline the boys showed out there on Sunday.

“Every single one of them put in 110 per cent and that’s what it’s going to require from now until the end of the season to stay in this division.”