Maguire feels first half was Reds at our best

Saturday 08 April 2023 17:27

Manchester United captain Harry Maguire has praised his side’s performance in the 2-0 win against Everton at Old Trafford, believing the first-half display to be the best of the season to date.

The England international came into the side and helped keep a clean sheet alongside Lisandro Martinez at the heart of the Reds' defence.

United were dominant in the opening 45 minutes, with 21 shots at the Everton goal, which included Scott McTominay providing a good finish past Jordan Pickford to open the scoring.  Substitute Anthony Martial latched onto a Marcus Rashford pass to double the lead, on 71 minutes, and clinch the three points for the Reds.

Speaking with BT Sport and MUTV after the game, United’s captain believed that his team deserved to walk away with three points after not allowing the visitors to come into the game and believed the only thing we lacked was more clinical finishing.
Maguire: It was an excellent performance Video

Maguire: It was an excellent performance

Harry Maguire says the only thing missing from United's "controlled performance" was more goals...

When asked by MUTV's Stewart Gardner if the opening half was the best display of the campaign, the centre-back replied: "There have been some good [ones] - the second half against Barcelona if we're talking about halves, but, first half, I'd probably say that's the strongest, for sure.

"If we'd come in at half-time 4-0 up, I think no-one would be complaining.

"But nothing is ever comfortable in the Premier League, to be honest. It should have been comfortable. That’s for sure. When the game is at 1-0, you are never comfortable, anything can happen in the Premier League. Everyone has that bit of quality. Set-plays, they are dangerous from. They won a lot of headers and you know they are going to have those one or two moments.

“We had to kill the game off at half-time, the first half was excellent, great football on the front foot. Numerous chances, controlled the game, played in their half. I think we thoroughly deserved the three points. The only thing probably missing was more goals.”

“We were on the front foot," he continued. "We had a game-plan, we got in behind them a lot of times and I thought our counter press and our rest defence was really good and really strong.

“We didn’t let them out of their half and that is the aim at Old Trafford and that is the aim of the game we play. And we played it better today than we have in some previous games, but we are working, we are improving and that is the aim."

Did we produce our best first-half performance of the season in the opening 45 against Everton? Harry Maguire thinks so...poll

Did we produce our best first-half performance of the season in the opening 45 against Everton? Harry Maguire thinks so...

With 15 minutes of the game left, United supporters around Old Trafford rose to their feet to applaud Christian Eriksen on his return from injury. Fellow substitute Anthony Martial should also prove vital if he can continue to step up his fitness.

Maguire spoke about how important it is to have two influential players back in the side with such a taxing fixture list ahead for Erik ten Hag’s men.

“We are never going to be successful as 11 players," he stated. "This is the Premier League, where are playing in all competitions. We want to do as well as we can in every competition, win more trophies and also compete at the highest level of the Premier League and, to do that, you need more than 11 players.

"To get Christian back, to get Anthony [Martial] back. Huge players for us, huge players for the squad who can make a difference off the bench, who can start games and that brings more energy out of the players, knowing that. The competition for places is high and we have a good enough squad to cope with the demands we have been put through.”