Maguire proud after victory in "old-school" conditions

Sunday 20 February 2022 17:04

Harry Maguire hailed Manchester United’s ability to deal with tough conditions in an “old school” Premier League clash against Leeds United.

The captain headed United in front, getting above his man to direct Luke Shaw’s in-swinging corner home after 34 minutes. That goal ended an unwanted record of the Reds failing to score from a corner all season.

Maguire was satisfied to end that sequence, but even more so with the reaction of the team to conceding twice in the second half.

Bruno Fernandes had followed up Maguire’s opener late in the first half to give United a two-goal lead at the break, but Leeds scored twice in a minute to draw level before the 54th-minute mark.

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“I think that’s the most pleasing aspect of the game,” Maguire said.

“Their first goal is really lucky and it gets them right back in the game. Then they scored a good goal and we have to fight back and we had to stick together.

“I’m really proud of the lads and pleased with the way we stuck together, regrouped. We knew we had the qualities to hurt them and we had to calm that storm, get together and we knew we had 30 minutes to win the game and we’ve done that.”

The rain fell at Elland Road relentlessly before and throughout the match, making the pitch and the ball heavy in a way not seen in a Premier League game for some years. Players clearly struggled to adapt to the changed nature of both pitch and ball.

“The conditions in the second half was really bad, to be honest,” Maguire told Sky Sports.

“The half that we were playing in and defending was really waterlogged so we came out at the start of the second half and played as if we normally would in the first half, dribbling, trying to win those one on on battles.

“We knew we got caught on it too much especially in the first five minutes of the first half so we had to get used to the conditions. But yeah it was old school, so many tackles. I’m sure it was good to watch a game like that but thankfully we came out on top.”

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Addressing the set-piece issues United have faced this season, Maguire took a great deal of personal responsibility.

“It’s been frustrating for me, especially,” the captain explained to MUTV.

“I see the stat and I feel embarrassed, to be honest. Set plays are a huge part of the game, especially in tight, big games. The first goal is crucial.

“We haven’t played well enough this season, but if we’d have improved our set plays, we’d be sat higher in the table. It’s a big part of the game.”