Harry Maguire claims Edinson Cavani is the best player he’s faced after the Uruguayan striker netted twice to give Manchester United a 3-2 comeback win against Southampton on Sunday afternoon.

Cavani came off the bench at half-time, replacing Mason Greenwood, and assisted one before he scored twice, the second coming in added time.

Maguire himself had a solid game. United trailed by two goals at half-time despite a decent display from the Reds. Individual lapses in quality was the cause of the deficit, rather than the system.

Cavani offered incredible movement as a natural number nine. Maguire was keen to point that out.

Cavani is a ‘top, top player’ says Manchester United captain Maguire

“His movement is excellent in the box,” Maguire told the BBC’s Match of the Day.

“He’s the best I’ve played against during training. He is on the move constantly. We know what he has got and can bring to this club. It’s important he kicks on now because he’s a top, top player.”

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 29: Edinson Cavani of Manchester United celebrates after scoring their team's second goal during the Premier League match between Southampton and Manchester United at St Mary's Stadium on November 29, 2020 in Southampton, England.
(Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

The signing of Cavani by Solskjaer and United raised eyebrows. After a disappointing transfer window, signing a veteran striker on a free transfer was not what United fans wanted to see. But he has been fantastic, especially against Southampton.

Solskjaer agrees with United captain on Cavani brilliance

Solskjaer was delighted with Cavani’s influence, too.

 

“He gave us a focal point in the box, [we have] not really had that since Romelu left,” Solskjaer mused.

“Anthony, Marcus, Mason are different kind of strikers, it gives us a great balance and a mix.” 

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 29: Edinson Cavani (R) of Manchester United celebrates with team mate Victor Lindelof after scoring their sides second goal during the Premier League match between Southampton and Manchester United at St Mary's Stadium on November 29, 2020 in Southampton, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. Solskjaer Maguire
(Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Continuing to talk about Cavani, Solskjaer said, “he is a number nine who wants to be in between the posts, he is always on the move, he wants to get in front of you and I am very pleased with him.”

Solskjaer: Cavani is a meticulous professional

“On the training pitch, in the dressing room and during meal times, how meticulous he is… He knows what he wants to eat, how much he wants to recover – everything!

“It was top movement and his timing is fantastic. His hunger to get on the end of things is the key for a centre-forward. Sometimes it hurts and sometimes it doesn’t but to score you have to be in there.”

Late illness ruled Anthony Martial out of Sunday’s game. He was left at the team hotel while his teammates ran riot in the second half. Cavani took his chance brilliantly. It’s refreshing to watch a true number nine in action for United.

Manchester United have new options up front

Fans will ask now whether Cavani should start. He has more league goals (3) for United this season than everyone except Bruno Fernandes (7). A focal point is exactly what he offers.

If United could get a true right-winger, too, Cavani’s impact could be even greater.

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