Maguire reacts to a crucial win over Leicester

Manchester United captain Harry Maguire has praised the Reds’ character and belief, after securing third place in the Premier League with a 2-0 victory over his former club Leicester City.

A tense and nerve-wracking game at the King Power Stadium was goalless until Bruno Fernandes slotted in a confident penalty on 71 minutes. Substitute Jesse Lingard then robbed Kasper Schmeichel of possession to seal the win with a simple finish deep into added time. 

While finishing third should never be considered a great achievement at United, it is clearly a sign of progress for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Reds. 

“To finish third in the Premier League, that’s where we expect to be and we expect to be in the Champions League,”
Maguire told Sky Sports. 

“Obviously the last few years have been tough and at the start of the season people didn’t expect us to be in the top four at the end of the season, but we had great belief in ourselves. 

“At the start of the season we were far too inconsistent - dropping points and performances weren’t good enough in parts of games and we’d get punished. We’ve been a lot better of late and it’s come from an unpromising position that shows the great character we’ve got in this group.”

United were down in 14th place back in October but slowly improved under Solskjaer’s guidance and a remarkable run of form in 2020 has led to finishing third.

“Obviously bringing Bruno in, in January, has made a big difference,” said Harry. “Obviously, he scored the goal to put us 1-0 up today. But we’ve just worked tirelessly hard on the training pitch and knew we needed to get better. 

“Our top performances were good at the start of the season but we just dropped too much in-between games and we dropped so many silly points when we shouldn’t have dropped points. 

“I think defending set-plays is huge as well. We were finding ourselves going 1-0 behind in games and it was tough to break teams down. That’s improved a lot, apart from the goal we conceded against Southampton. 

“But it’s showing great character from the lads to come back to get what we set out to at the start of the season. To finish third in the Premier League should be a minimum requirement from this club, but next season we have to keep improving and building.”

Statman Dave analyses Leicester 0 United 2Video

As for the game itself, Maguire admitted the tight and tense nature of the action was what he had expected all along. “It was the exact game I thought it was going to be,” explained Harry.

“We knew we had to be solid and they would come and not give us much space. Sit back a tiny bit on the first phase and we probably had one eye on what was happening in the Chelsea game, to see whether a draw would be good enough. At half-time Chelsea were leading so it was down to our game. Big players turn up in big moments and it was a nervy end but we derived the three points.”

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