Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer found two warriors in his side’s 4-1 Premier League win over Newcastle on Saturday night. The Red Devils secured a return to winning ways with a defiant performance at St James’ Park, recovering from a goal down to pick up all three points. And Harry Maguire and Bruno Fernandes both put recent misery behind them on a positive evening on Tyneside.
United went into the clash against Newcastle knowing they needed a big result, having already lost to Tottenham and Crystal Palace this term.
And they got exactly that, cruising to a 4-1 win at St James’ Park.
Things didn’t get off to a flying start, with the home side taking the lead through a Luke Shaw own goal.
But Maguire and Fernandes inspired a fine comeback victory, with the pair both getting on the scoresheet along with Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Marcus Rashford.
For Maguire, it was proof his leadership – something that’s been sorely missed in recent weeks.
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The England international has endured a wretched summer and start to the new season. His arrest in Greece while on holiday has set the tone for what’s followed in recent weeks.
Maguire was utterly abysmal during the Tottenham defeat, at one point appearing to throw Shaw into a Spurs attacker – to no success.
And he endured a difficult night for England in midweek, receiving his marching orders as Gareth Southgate’s side slipped to defeat against Denmark in their Nations League showdown.
However, against Newcastle, the former Leicester star put that all behind him.
Maguire scored a terrific header against Steve Bruce’s team, levelling the scores at a time where United were starting to look flat.
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And he lead from the front as the Red Devils started to take control of the match.
Maguire won six of his seven aerial duels, managed four interceptions and made three appearances at St James’ Park.
And United will now be hopeful their captain can produce similar powerful performances in the coming weeks, with tough fixtures against the likes of PSG, Chelsea, Arsenal, RB Leipzig and Everton lying in wait.
Another warrior on Saturday night was Fernandes.
The Portugal international went into the game with reports swirling of him losing faith in Solskjaer, something both player and manager has denied.
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He’d also been hooked in the match against Tottenham at the interval, something that irked the 25-year-old and has led to talk Real Madrid or Barcelona could come calling in the January transfer window.
When Fernandes missed his penalty, his first failed effort from 22 attempts, the midfielder could have been forgiven for sulking.
But instead he bounced back and scored the vital goal that put United 2-1 up, before Wan-Bissaka and Rashford made the points safe.
Before the match, Solskjaer had talked about the need for players to come together to lift them out of their current slump.
And, in Maguire and Fernandes, he found two warriors who stood tall.
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