Maguire: We must maintain this intensity

Sunday 11 February 2024 20:20

Harry Maguire believes that energy and intensity are the key to Manchester United defending resolutely against teams, and also threatening at the other end of the pitch.

In-form striker Rasmus Hojlund gave the Reds the lead away at Aston Villa on Sunday, before Douglas Luiz's second-half equaliser put the hosts in the ascedancy.

Despite the pressure of Unai Emery's men in the second half in particular, United's backline - marshalled superbly by Maguire and Raphael Varane - withstood the onslaught to find our feet and provide a platform for substitute Scott McTominay to clinch all three points in the closing stages.

Maguire, whose header assisted Hojlund's opener, believes Erik ten Hag's team must play with intensity, both in defence and attack.

Maguire: We stuck together Video

Maguire: We stuck together

Harry Maguire identifies team spirit as a key trait in our victory at Villa Park...

"We knew it would be tough," he said to MUTV after the win at Villa Park.

"[We] started well and finished well and managed to get three points. It's a big three points. We aren't where we are [wanting to be] in the league and still need to improve from now to the end of the season to make sure we are in the mix.

"You need the energy within the squad and the intensity that you work, and especially when you defend. The intensity has got to be there. It comes from energy and you feed off each other.

"It's important when you are under the cosh like we were in the second half, we created a lot of chances ourselves."

The win over Villa is United's third in a row in the Premier League, and means United closed the gap to five points between us and the fifth-placed side. Now that players are returning from injury, Maguire says our squad depth is a key plus, as we strive to climb the table.

"It’s a big squad and we know that we’ve got players on the bench who can come on and make the difference," he said in another interview with Sky Sports.

"We had to dig deep in the second half, we were under pressure from a lot of set-plays and corners, causing problems. But I think we dug deep in the end and deserved the win.

"[We showed] great spirit, [and it was] great fight from the lads to come back into the game and [it's] Scott with the match-winner again."