Maguire proud of ever-present league run

Sunday 26 July 2020 07:00

Harry Maguire says he is proud to have played every minute of all 37 Premier League game so far this season and he’s aiming to complete the full set on Sunday at Leicester City, and ensure the campaign ends positively for the Reds.

Our skipper returns to his former club knowing a point will be good enough for United to secure Champions League football for next season, while a victory would guarantee third place.

Maguire is pleased to have a played a big part in our quest for a top-four finish and says it’s now all about completing the job this weekend.

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“We won’t be going to Leicester and playing for the draw, that’s for sure,” Harry told MUTV’s Stewart Gardner. “We’ll go into the game wanting to win it. We want to get the three points, we’ll approach it like we approach any other game.

"Maybe if we’re drawing in the last couple of minutes we might approach it a little bit differently but for sure we’re going to go into the game and try to get the three points. We’re sat third in the league and that’s where we want to be by the end of Sunday.

“For this club, the gaffer keeps reiterating that the last two or three weeks of a season always decide the season really and you want to get yourselves in a position where you’re challenging for your targets. In the near future we don’t want to be challenging for the top four, we want to be challenging for the league.

"At the start of the season we wanted to reach the top four - a lot of people didn’t think we would come Christmas, but we’ve put ourselves in a great position now and it’s an exciting game to be involved in.

“It’s really important [to play Champions League football]. I joined this club to win the biggest trophies and the Champions League is one of the biggest of them all. As a club and a player we want to be in the Champions League, so it’s really important to be there.

“Touch wood I manage to play the game on Sunday and do that [play every minute of every Premier League game this season],” he added. “It’s something I do really take pride in, being available and looking after myself in order to play every game.

"I think it’s really important especially as a defender because you want to play in every game and if you’re an attacker you want to see a solid defence and not much change with it. You want to see consistency and know what you’re going to get. 

“So it’s important for a top defender to play every game. I’ve done it once in my career, at Leicester in my first season where I played every minute of every game, and it’s been nice, touch wood, that I’ve stayed injury-free and not picked up any silly suspensions this season.”

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The Reds have made up a lot of ground on fellow top-four chasers Leicester City and Chelsea since football resumed last month and Maguire feels the team has improved our intensity and tempo as the season has gone on.

“I think at the start of the season we were a little bit inconsistent, not just game-to-game, but during games as well,” he recalled. “We’d have games where we were good for the first 30 minutes then we’d come off it and we’d concede a sloppy goal or a set-play and get punished.

"We’ve learnt from our mistakes and we know we can’t come off it in games. We saw it against West Ham in the week when we came off it in the second half and we didn’t deserve to win the game. 

“We know where we have to be and the intensity and the tempo we have to play at to reach our highest levels. Since Christmas, if you’d have said we can take it to the last game against Leicester we’d have snapped your hand off. So we’ve put ourselves in a good position but we’ve done nothing yet and we’re looking forward to Sunday.

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“You join Manchester United because you want to play in the biggest games possible,” he added. “You want to play in high-pressure games and you just prepare the best you can.

"We played in midweek against West Ham so you recover, eat, sleep and prepare like you would for any other game, work hard on the training pitch and make sure you’re ready.

"The main thing is to enjoy the game and enjoy the occasion. You’ll look back at these big pressure and high-stakes games at the end of your career and hopefully you’ll have fond memories.”

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