Jamie Carragher explains why Harry Maguire was to blame for Atletico Madrid goal

On March 15, Manchester United crashed out of the Champions League, and Jamie Carragher believes that Harry Maguire had much to do with that.

Before the match, United fans had a genuine sense of belief. After Anthony Elanga’s late goal in the first leg of their last 16 match-up, they were optimistic that they could break Atletico Madrid down. But despite having home advantage, they were no match for the Spaniards.

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United carried their momentum into the second leg and looked to assert their dominance. But after a Renan Lodi header flew past David De Gea and into the back of the net, the home side crumbled. They seemed to lack ambition throughout the second half and only mustered one shot on target.

As the final whistle blew, Old Trafford descended into silence. The supporters witnessed their team bow out of a major competition once again. Naturally, they began looking for someone to blame, and Diogo Dalot received the brunt of the onslaught.

The Portuguese defender left Lodi completely unmarked, and it cost his side dearly. But despite the criticism that’s getting fired in his direction, a Liverpool legend has his own opinions on who’s responsible.

Read: Jamie Carragher responds to Chelsea fan criticism by pointing out their hypocrisy.

Jamie Carragher is not happy with Harry Maguire

To the naked eye, it appears obvious that Dalot is solely culpable for the goal. But if you scratch underneath the surface, there’s a lot more to it. In his post-match analysis for CBS Sports, the Anfield icon gave a fascinating breakdown of the centre-back’s role in Lodi’s finish.

He said: “Harry Maguire goes flying out when he doesn’t need to. So everyone comes across one player. It’s so tight in the midfield. You don’t need to go that tight.”

“Then someone runs into the space, so Varane gets dragged out. Now Dalot has to go with that run. But I’m watching Harry Maguire, and he’s playing in a position I’ve played in. In terms of the United captain, who cost £80 million and was taken off in the game, he is going through the worst moment in his career right now.”

“We’ve all been there. I can picture it now when I was playing, and I felt no matter what I did in a game, how I prepared for it, how well I played in the game, the one thing I’d get wrong, the ball would end up in the back of my net. And I always remember when that was and that period of my career.

“This is something that Harry Maguire is going through right now. Now, he has to get out of it very quickly; otherwise, he won’t be at the club because the standards at Manchester United are so high.

“Of course, he does [ want to get out of this run], but his head will be all over the place. He is getting criticism left, right and centre. He’ll be criticised again – I actually think the crowd cheered when he went off, which is not a nice thing for anyone.”

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Does Maguire deserves the criticism?

Although the England international hasn’t reached the heights his price tag suggested, Carragher still rates his ability. But he believes that after a poor campaign, the United captain needs some time to rest.

The former defender added: “I’ve always been a fan of Harry Maguire. He gets criticised because he cost £80 million. Virgil van Dijk cost £75 million, and he’s the best defender in the world.

“Harry Maguire is not that, but he doesn’t set the price, but he gets stick for that. He had a great summer with England at the Euros, but this season has been a disaster, and he almost just needs to get to the end of the season and just forget about football and get away.

“He’s having a really tough time. And every decision he makes, he’s probably overthinking it. The decision he makes to push in there, if he’s playing well, he’s just filling that space, he’s trying to do too much, and he’s all over the place.”

Manchester United trophy drought goes on

During the Sir Alex Ferguson era, United couldn’t stop winning silverware. They were like a magnet to every domestic title and even won two Champions Leagues. But since the Scot’s departure, trophies have been few are far between. And having now exited the European cup for another year, their drought continues.

It’s now five years since Jose Mourinho’s squad defeated Ajax in the 2017 Europa League final. And things don’t look likely to improve at The Theatre of Dreams anytime soon. Remarkably this underachievement also marks the first time in 16 seasons that Cristiano Ronaldo won’t finish a season with a trophy.

All supporters can hope for is that they find the right coach to turn the fearsome tide or else this drought could continue for seasons to come.

Featured Image Credit: Getty