Man United Crash Out Of Europe: Time To Plan For Life Without De Gea And Maguire

David de Gea turned in a terrible performance to help his side bow out of the Europa League
21:55, 20 Apr 2023

Manchester United crashed out of the Europa League quarter-finals after falling to a 3-0 defeat (5-2 on aggregate) to Sevilla at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan on Thursday evening.

A brace from Youssef En-Nesyri, with Loic Bade grabbing the other, punished the Red Devils for an underwhelming performance in Seville, which followed on from the side letting their two-goal lead slip in the first leg a week ago. Goalkeeper David de Gea was at fault for two of Sevilla's goals and it has never been more apparent that United need a new number one in between the sticks.

For the first goal. De Gea tried to play out from the back and Harry Maguire demanded the ball from him. The defender was surrounded by three Sevilla players who easily picked up the ball from him and Youssef En-Nesyri slotted the ball past the Spanish goalkeeper to put the hosts in front of the tie for the first time.

Both players weren’t blameless for the goal. Maguire failed to do the basics of his position and check what was around him before asking for the ball, and De Gea, having the view he had, should’ve known that he couldn’t give him the ball. Of course the modern way of playing demands a goalkeeper to make sure his side maintains possession and he is expected to find a team mate. But in scenarios like that you have to reset to factory setting and just hoof the ball clear or get the ball out wide.


With that calamitous exchange taking place inside the opening 10 minutes, it really destabilised United and it made it easy for Sevilla to exploit their frailties, which were coming both at the back and in midfield. Casemiro had a poor performance by the high standards he has set since joining the club from Real Madrid last summer. 

Uncharacteristically, the Brazilian gifted a pass to the Spanish side, allowing them to break forward and ask more questions of United’s back line. It wouldn’t be out of place to say that he wouldn’t have made such a basic error had two of his team mates not gifted Sevilla a goal so early in the game.

The players in red out on the pitch were rattled, and with De Gea and Maguire’s combined howler happening so early on can be partly put down to their side’s late collapse in the first leg at Old Trafford but also on the fact that neither are good enough to help take the club to the level they want to get back to. The experienced goalkeeper then capped off a woeful individual performance when he gifted Sevilla their third goal of the evening. Outside his box, De Gea tried to control a long ball but his touch was poor and rolled into En Nesyri's path, and the striker made no mistake to find the back of the net and wrap-up a tie that had been over for quite some time.

De Gea has been a tremendous servant over the years and has been an excellent shot-stopper throughout his United tenure, but he cannot fulfil the expectations that Erik ten Hag wants of his goalkeeper. When the summer rolls around, the club should highly consider not renewing his contract.

As for Maguire, the England international has always found it hard to adjust to life at one of England’s biggest clubs from Leicester City. He has been prone to mistakes which has led to him being the scapegoat for results where he didn’t directly contribute to the defeat other than just being on the pitch. 

The supporters have never been convinced by him and while he has been able to shine on the international stage, he has never been able to show any signs of thriving at his club. Given his £75 million price tag, he has found life difficult because of the weight of expectation on his shoulders and it has clearly been too heavy a burden for him to bear.

This season alone he has been linked with a transfer to Aston Villa and his old club Leicester and at this point a move away from Old Trafford would be in the best interests of all parties. He only got called up to the lineup tonight because the two main centre-halves, Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane, are out injured. By cutting ties with the Red Devils and that then-record-breaking transfer fee, the shackles might come off for Maguire and he might become the strong defender that made him a star at Leicester.

Ten Hag has overseen some good progress with the side in his first year. He’s delivered a domestic title and his side are still in a good position to seal a return to the Champions League. But in games like this he will see that his squad is still lacking in quality and depth. This club needs to be taken forward and for that to happen players like De Gea and Maguire need to be moved on.

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