Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has said he is determined to stick with under-fire captain Harry Maguire against Newcastle this weekend if the defender is passed fit.
Maguire has faced criticism for his performances so far this season amid suggestions the defender is struggling to deal with the fall-out from his arrest in Greece during the summer.
The 27-year-old picked up an early red card during England’s defeat to Denmark on Wednesday but Solskjaer insists he will start at St James’ Park on Saturday if he passes a fitness test.
“When Harry is part of the England team that beat No. 1 ranked Belgium, that’s just a normal day but you get the headlines when you get the sending off, that’s just football for you,” Solskjaer told a news conference on Friday.
“Harry has got great resilience. I know he’ll bounce back. I know he wants to play and work his way out of the last couple of games he’s been criticised for.
“He picked up a knock just before he came off so I’m just hopeful he’ll be fit.”
Solskjaer accepts United have “started badly” this season after two defeats from the first three games, including a humiliating 6-1 home defeat to Tottenham.
The result prompted reports of a rift between Solskjaer and midfielder Bruno Fernandes but ahead of the game at Newcastle, the United boss said there are no problems within the squad.
“We are united and have to stay together, we can’t listen to everyone outside, we’ve got to get on with it,” Solskjaer said. “Bruno has lost two league games and came in February. It’s been two in quick succession and he’s not used to losing league games.
“They are going to try and create a division between us but it’s not going to happen. This is a group that wants to work together and stick together.”
Solskjaer has also had to deal with more public flirting between Paul Pogba and Real Madrid during the international break.
Pogba said it would be a “dream” to play for the Spanish giants, comments that angered supporters.
“Paul’s our player, he’s going to be here for another two years and I’m sure he’s focused on doing his best for us,” Solskjaer said. “We want to see the best for Paul and I’m sure in the next couple of years we’ll get the best out of him.”
Culled from ESPN