Darren Fletcher defends Manchester United’s set-piece record and clarifies technical director role | Football News

Manchester United coach Darren Fletcher has clarified his technical director role and addressed set-piece criticism following the appointment of specialist Eric Ramsay.

Harry Maguire recently ended the club’s unwanted goal drought from corners, scoring on their 139th attempt in the 4-2 win against Leeds at Elland Road.

But Fletcher defended Ramsay’s influence, claiming he had been brought in primarily to improve the team’s deficiencies at defending set pieces.

Speaking at a fans’ forum at Old Trafford, Fletcher has praised the club’s new set-piece coach for his impact already since taking up the role.

“People only give the one narrative about scoring from set pieces,” the former midfielder said.

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At the 139th attempt this season, Manchester United finally score from a corner as Harry Maguire heads in at Leeds

“The biggest reason Eric was brought in was because we were conceding too many goals from set pieces. We have really improved our defending from set pieces and wide free-kicks this season. Eric is a fantastic coach.”

Fletcher, who came through the ranks of United’s Youth Academy and spent 20 years with United, making 342 appearances for the club, was appointed technical director a year ago with John Murtough as football director.

Prior to Harry Maguire’s headed goal at Leeds, Man Utd last scored directly from a corner in the Premier League on January 28, 2021 with a Maguire header during a 2-1 defeat to Sheffield United.

His role has been questioned due to his matchday role in assisting interim manager Ralf Rangnick, a duty not typically associated with technical directors.

The Scot made clear at the fans’ forum that his main responsibility lies in developing academy talent for the first team.

Fletcher has defended Man Utd & # 39 ;s set-piece specialist
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Fletcher has defended Man Utd’s set-piece specialist

Fletcher added: “With Ralf and his staff coming in, and Michael and Kieran choosing to move on, we had a quick transition process, so part of my role has been to assist with that, both on the training pitch and during games.

“I guess that’s been the most visible part for me this season, but that’s really an addition to my overall Technical Director role.

“Probably the key part of the role is taking a holistic view of the path for players from our Academy to our First Team. That pipeline of Academy talent is a massive part of who we are as a club.

Anthony [Elanga] has done brilliantly since he broke into the first team, and Hannibal Mejbri has also been more involved in the squad.

Darren Fletcher is excited about United’s future

“Anthony [Elanga] has done brilliantly since he broke into the first team, and Hannibal Mejbri has also been more involved in the squad.

“Our U19s recently finished top of their group in the UEFA Youth League, and our U18s have reached the semi-finals of the FA Youth Cup.

“I’m working closely with Nick Cox, as Head of Academy, to look at the long-term strategy for bringing players through.

“We have to manage the balance between allowing them to develop and creating the right steps for that, without piling the pressure onto them.

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Ralf Rangnick admits he is frustrated that Manchester United could not take any of their chances in the 0-0 draw to Watford, but he was happy with his players’ efforts.

“Along with Nick, I’m looking at how we best use the loan system to give Academy players invaluable experience at other clubs.

“We currently have 13 young players and Academy products on loan and playing regularly in other divisions or leagues.

“Hopefully we’ll see players like Brandon Williams, Teden Mengi, Jimmy Garner, Ethan Laird, Tahiti Chong, and Amad Diallo reap the benefits of that.

“All of them are doing really well on loan and we’re excited to bring them back in pre-season to see how they fare with our first team players.

“It’s been a brilliant experience since I took on the role, and the combination of long-term planning and contributing to our strategic goals, with the opportunity to still be close to the team and management, makes it a unique role.”

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