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‘Very proactive’: Ten Hag praises Harry Maguire after Manchester United win

Erik ten Hag said Harry Maguire is “playing like we want him to” after a man-of-the-match performance in Manchetser United’s 2-1 win at Sheffield United. Maguire started his second successive Premier League game and stood out against his former club at Bramall Lane as the Red Devils marked the death of Sir Bobby Charlton with three points.

The England centre-half’s career at Old Trafford appeared to be over after he was stripped of the captaincy and allowed to explore the possibility of signing for West Ham in the summer, but he was always committed to regaining Ten Hag’s favour. He hopes to be doing that now, with the United manager impressed by his performance.

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“I have to say Harry is playing like we want him to play,” he said. “Very proactive out of possession, dominating his opponent, stepping in when necessary, reading the game, good covering but also in possession very proactive, stepping in, delivering good passes, switching, yes, I am happy with his performance.”

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The Red Devils hardly put in a fitting performance to remember Charlton by but they got the job done against a team who are yet to win this season. They went ahead against the run of play when Scott McTominay scored his third goal in two games but Oli McBurnie quickly levelled for the Blades with a penalty before the break. Ten Hag’s men improved after the interval and won it in the 77th minute through Diogo Dalot’s curling effort.

A long season is on the cards for the Blades, who have taken just one point from their opening nine games. They have been hit hard by injuries, losing the captain, John Egan, and the vice-captain, Chris Basham, to long-term problems, and they suffered more bad news on that front. Anel Ahmedhodzic missed out with a hamstring injury, while McBurnie limped off with a groin problem.

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Paul Heckingbottom, the Blades’ manager, said of Ahmedhodzic: “It’s his hamstring. He jumped for a header in training and hurt his hamstring. He’s had a scan. It will be weeks. Oli’s groin started impacting him.

“It was sore at half-time and we tried taping it up but you could see it was impacting him running. We had to bring him off because he was hindered by that but also to protect him as well.”