Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Harry Maguire will “bounce back” after his torrid start to the season but could miss Saturday’s Premier League trip to Newcastle through injury. The 27-year-old — the world’s most expensive defender — has struggled for Manchester United since his well-documented Greek court case in August.
On Wednesday he was sent off in the first half of England’s 1-0 loss to Denmark in the Nations League — just days after helping Gareth Southgate’s team to victory against Belgium.
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“When Harry is part of the England team that beats number-one ranked Belgium, that’s just a normal day and then you get the headlines when you get the sending-off,” said Solskjaer. “That’s just football for you. There’s so many ups and downs that we have got to deal with it, individually and as a group. Harry’s got great resilience. I know he’ll bounce back. I’ll know that he wants to play, he wants to just work his way out of the last couple of games that he’s been criticised (for).”
The United boss said at his pre-match press conference that Maguire “picked up a knock” against Denmark and would have a fitness test on Friday.
United head to Newcastle looking to react to the 6-1 humbling at home to Tottenham before the international break.
“It’s one of those things that you have to get over as soon as you can and move on,” Solskjaer said. “We know any little chance from outside ... you want to create a division. I think Bruno (Fernandes) spoke really well the other day about how we are united, we have to stay together. We can’t listen to everyone outside. We’ve got to just get on with it.”
Solskjaer, speaking for the first time since the club brought in Edinson Cavani, Facundo Pellistri and Alex Telles on transfer deadline day, said he was looking forward to integrating the new players. Cavani is yet to join the squad because he is in quarantine.
“All three of them have got something different to what we have and they’ll definitely come in and help us,” said the United boss. I think the group, as well, are looking forward to having them join in.”
De Bruyne out for City
Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne will miss Saturday’s game against Arsenal after picking up an injury on international duty with Belgium last weekend, manager Pep Guardiola said.
“The squad have come back a little better than the previous time. Unfortunately Kevin is out but the rest of the players came back well,” Guardiola said.
“I don’t think it’s much but the next games I think he will be out. But we will see day by day how he is going on.”
City have a busy fixture list, hosting Porto in the Champions League group stage on Wednesday before a league trip to West Ham on the following Saturday.
They then travel to Marseille for another group stage game the Tuesday after.
Guardiola had better news on striker Sergio Aguero, City’s record goalscorer, after the Argentine returned to training following a knee injury in June.
“Sergio is training well and I’m so happy to see him on the pitch after such a long time,” said Guardiola. “Every team needs a striker and we have played without them the last two, three games.”
Can Everton end Liverpool hoodoo?
Elsewhere, Liverpool face Premier League pacesetters Everton this weekend determined to prove their 7-2 drubbing by Aston Villa was just a bizarre blip.
The Merseyside derby kicks off the Premier League action on Saturday after the international break.
Everton have been rivals to Liverpool in name only for the past decade, without a win against their near-neighbours since 2010.
But the Goodison Park club are top of the table with four wins out of four and Jurgen Klopp will not be relishing the short trip across Stanley Park.
The champions are smarting from their pummelling at Villa, which followed impressive wins against Chelsea and Arsenal, and it will be the defence that is giving the German boss his biggest headache.
Liverpool have conceded 11 goals in the Premier League so far — only West Brom have conceded more (13) — and they are coming up against the Premier League’s joint top-scorer in Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who has six goals.
The forward, who scored for England on his debut last week, is quick to praise fellow attackers James Rodriguez and Richarlison.
“I demand high standards from myself every day,” he told Everton TV. “I continue to work hard, like I always have, to get into this position. I am just grateful the quality behind me is producing the opportunities for me to score the goals.”
Spurs’ feel-good factor
Jose Mourinho’s Tottenham started the season with a disappointing Premier League defeat against Everton but they are unbeaten since then despite a hectic schedule leading up to the international break.
Their seismic victory at Old Trafford brought an end to a sequence of eight matches in 22 days as Spurs reached the League Cup quarter-finals and qualified for the Europa League group stage.
Lucas Moura says Tottenham are keen to pick up where they left off.
“We need to start the new month in the same way, with the same fighting spirit,” he said. “I’m very positive. I think we are building a very strong squad and we can dream of big things this season, that’s our objective.”
Villa meet Leicester in summit clash
When Aston Villa escaped relegation on the final day of the 2019/20 season, few would have expected them to be second in the table, with three wins out of three, in mid-October.
Defender Ezri Konsa is confident they can maintain that flying start against Leicester, who are just behind Villa on goal difference.
“It’s been a great start for us,” he said. “We’ve carried on our form from last season, and we need to keep going and keep the focus on ourselves.
“The chemistry in the squad has gone up another level and we keep building on that in training.”
Everton v Liverpool, 3.30pm
Chelsea v Southampton, 6pm
Man City v Arsenal, 8.30pm
Newcastle v Man United, 11pm
Sheffield United v Fulham, 3pm
Crystal Palace v Brighton, 5pm
Tottenham v West Ham, 7.30pm
Leicester v Aston Villa, 10.15pm
West Brom v Burnley, 8.30pm
Leeds v Wolverhampton, 11pm