Maguire: Let's get the job done
With a challenging 48 hours behind him, Manchester United captain Harry Maguire has only one objective in mind now - to lead his side into the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League with a victory over Villarreal.
If the Reds win this evening's encounter at Estadio La Ceramica, qualification from Group F will be assured with one game still to spare.
And even though that concluding home game against Young Boys offers a safety net to United, Maguire is determined to progress without it and produce a performance that restores some pride after the weekend's harrowing defeat to Watford and subsequent departure of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer from the manager's position.
Club media reporter Mark Sullivan spoke to Maguire ahead of the squad's flight to Spain and you can read and watch the interview below...
“Yes, it’s been a difficult couple of days for the lads, really emotional. It’s never nice to see a manager lose his job, especially someone who’s been so good to a lot of players here and a lot of members of staff, and the values that he has, and the journey that we’ve been on together over the last two or three years. Yesterday was a tough day for everyone, a really emotional day, saying obviously goodbyes but I’m sure we’ll stay in touch. Ole spoke to the group of lads and he’s going to be there supporting us, wanting us to do well, and that shows his values and what he thinks of this club. Obviously he’s a legend of the club and as a group of lads, we’re disappointed that we couldn’t do enough to improve the performances and the results. Ultimately now, we’ve got to look forward now to a game against Villarreal that’s a really important game in our season.”
Personally, as you’re the club captain, you will have worked closely with Ole, so is it difficult for you particularly?
“Yes of course, he’s been brilliant with me. He brought me to the club, made me captain, which is obviously a huge honour, a huge privilege, and I’ve had a great relationship with him over the last two or three years. We’ve had some great times. We’ve had ups, we’ve had downs but we’ve stuck together and we’ve moved forward. In the last two months, the progression hasn’t been there. We’ve stopped performing well enough individually so players obviously take huge responsibility. We feel we take the responsibility as much as the manager but it’s football and that’s what happens. Yeah, we’re so disappointed that we couldn’t do enough to change the results because the lads wanted to and have so much respect for him.”
“Yeah of course. We spoke yesterday about how tough the day was. And today we’ve come in with the mindset that it’s minus one, it’s time to prepare for a big game in our season, Villarreal. We know it’s a big game tomorrow so it’s time to prepare, it’s time to focus, it’s time to change that mindset, to make sure that come tomorrow we put our words into actions and we go out there and we fight for this club and we fight for the result that we need for the season to reach our goals.”
A win and you’re through, a draw and you’re still in a very strong position. But what will be the approach in Spain?
“We’re going to go into the game trying to win the football match. Every game that we play for this club is the same. We go into it trying to win the football match. I’ve spoke about us in recent months not doing that well enough, we haven’t performed well enough individually or collectively as a group. Everyone holds responsibility for that but now we’ve got to look forward, we’ve got to come together as a group and have the mindset and mentality to make sure that we’re together and we push together, and we produce a performance for the club, for the fans, and for ourselves.”
“Yeah we know them from the last two games, we’ve obviously played them a lot in recent months. We know they’re a good team, we know that we’re going to have to perform well to get the victory that we want and that’s what the focus is on now. The focus is on the performance now to make sure that we go there and put a performance on and then the performance will look after the result. We’ve got to make sure the boys are ready, everyone’s together now and we push each other hard to make sure we go into the game with a positive mindset, with confidence and belief that we go there and get the job done.”