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Pallister confident Harry can give Ten Hag a selection headache
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Mitchell Fretton
LiveScore
Harry Maguire scored the winner in Manchester United's Champions League triumph over FC Copenhagen
Harry Maguire scored the winner in Manchester United's Champions League triumph over FC Copenhagen

Gary Pallister is backing Harry Maguire to continue his "faultless" form for Manchester United. 

Maguire, 30, scored the winner against FC Copenhagen on Tuesday and United legend Pallister believes the former Leicester centre-back is doing everything he can with his opportunities.

Speaking ahead of Sunday's Manchester derby, he told LiveScore: "Erik ten Hag has brought him back into the back four and he's taking his chances.

"He's been more or less faultless recently and that was a big moment for him on Tuesday to score that goal. 

"You felt the crowd wanted him to do well and I'm sure Harry felt that as well. He came up as one of the heroes of the evening.

"Harry's not a bad centre-half. You don't have that many caps for England and you don't play at Manchester United if you're not a good player. 

"It's been difficult and I'm sure he's felt the pressure but you've got to give him all the credit to come out from under it all and perform."

Familiar foes

Manchester United were defeated by City in the FA Cup final last season
Manchester United were defeated by City in the FA Cup final last season

Manchester City have only won once at Old Trafford since 2019 but Pallister claims the champions are still firm favourites on Sunday.

The Red Devils finished 14 points behind them last season and their former defensive powerhouse believes there is still work to be done if Ten Hag's men are to reach City's level.

He said: "You look at City's start and I don't think they've hit the form they had at the end of last season when they won the Treble.

"Pep Guardiola has said they're still trying to get over the hangover of winning three trophies.

"They've lost the best midfield player in the world in Kevin De Bruyne [to injury] and that's bound to have an impact. 

"They're not at their sublime best but they're hot favourites going into the game, even though it's at Old Trafford.

"That's a tag we've become used to over the last few years. 

"But if United can turn the form book on its head and show that togetherness and determination, anything's possible."

Notes from the best

Ten Hag, 53, has adopted a disciplined approach when it comes to managing his squad — a trait Pallister saw in iconic boss Sir Alex Ferguson.

The four-time Premier League winner said: "The main similarity I can really see looking from the outside in is the discipline. 

"You don't go head-to-head with the manager because there can only ever be one winner if you're going to be from a position of strength.

"We've seen Cristiano Ronaldo and Paul Pogba leave and they're tough, strong decisions he's made. 

"Sir Alex wouldn't have dodged that either so I can see that kind of similarity. 

"I think that's the only way it can operate at a club like Manchester United. The players have got to know who the boss is and that his word is final."

Troubled waters

Gary Pallister knows what it takes to deliver success at Manchester United
Gary Pallister knows what it takes to deliver success at Manchester United

Midfield has been an area of concern for Ten Hag and Pallister, 58, has put some of the club's struggles down to an unbalanced squad.

He said: "Mason Mount has come in and he's left him out a few games. He's left Christian Eriksen out and when we play all the ball-playing midfielders, we look a little bit light.

"We don't have the protection and that's why he's brought Scott McTominay in to sit in that in front of that back four and give us a bit more solidity.

"You need players to put their hand up right now and say, 'You can't leave me out the side', especially in that midfield area."

United will need to put their troubles behind them on Sunday if they are to make it three wins on the spin in the league. 

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