Harry Maguire has admitted Manchester United’s players must accept responsibility for their role in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s sacking as manager.
The United captain is among those whose performances have come in for the most scrutiny during the miserable run of Premier League form which led to Solskjaer’s exit on Sunday, with his sending off contributing to the 4-1 defeat at Watford on Saturday which proved the final straw.
“Of course the players need to take the responsibility for everything that happens on the football field,” Maguire said. “We’re the ones that cross over that white line. We were in it together as a group, the management and players.
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“Ultimately the manager had paid the price so we’re all disappointed. We take huge responsibility. We haven’t been good enough individually or collectively as a team. We’ve spoken about that and now we’ve got to look forward to get the club back to where it was.
“The last few months have been nowhere near good enough and the players are responsible for that as well.”
Solskjaer’s exit was announced on Sunday morning, his status as one of the club’s most celebrated players no longer enough as they lost for the fifth time in eight league games, and the Norwegian came to United’s Carrington training ground to say his goodbyes.
“The manager came in and he spoke to us and it was an emotional day,” Maguire said. “Everyone’s got a huge amount of respect for Ole and what he’s done for the club.
“He’s a legend of the club and he will remain a legend for the club. I don’t want to go into too much depth about what he said but he wished us well.
“He said he’d be supporting us, he said we needed to get back on track, get focused for the game against Villarreal now and make sure we go into it with a positive mindset.
“One thing he did say was that he’d be supporting us and wanting us to win every game of football which shows the value of the man.”
As the search for a replacement, both interim and permanent, begins in the background, United’s players must quickly refocus for Tuesday’s Champions League trip to Villarreal, when victory over the side who beat them in last season’s Europa League final would be enough to put them in the knock-out stages.
But performances have not been particularly strong in Europe either. United have relied on stoppage-time goals from Cristiano Ronaldo to reach this point, securing come-from-behind wins over Villarreal and Atalanta at Old Trafford and a late draw away to Atalanta last month.
“In football you go through ups and downs and you go through tough times,” Maguire added. “If you look at the players now at this club, you’ll speak to a lot of them and I think they’ll probably say it’s their toughest time at club level.
“We know it’s not been good enough, the recent performances haven’t been good enough. We haven’t been delivering individually, but also collectively, and when you’re not doing it collectively, the results pay the price and it’s snowballed from one thing to another.
“We’ve got to take huge responsibility for that and we’ve got to find something within ourselves.
“We’ve got to look forward, we’ve got to move this club forward and find something within ourselves, within the group to find that focus and mentality to produce a good performance tomorrow and get the result we need for this club.”