Harry Maguire

Maguire: We will definitely take the positives

Harry Maguire admits the Manchester United dressing room was flat on Wednesday night, after exiting the Carabao Cup at the semi-final stage, but the club captain is adamant there are positives to take from a second away win over Manchester City this season.

After losing 3-1 in this month’s first leg at Old Trafford, the Reds visited the Etihad Stadium knowing that only a three-goal victory in normal time would secure progression to the final at Wembley.

The comeback was seemingly on when Nemanja Matic put United 1-0 up with a tidy first-half finish, before a harsh-looking red card for the Serbian, after the break, hampered the team’s ability to conjure a priceless second goal that would have forced a dramatic penalty shoot-out. 

In the end, United could only win by one goal on the night and the Carabao Cup campaign has unfortunately come to an end, yet Maguire remains upbeat in his assessment of the night.

'The first 45 at Old Trafford cost us'Video

“We will definitely take the positives from the game,”
says the skipper.
“The dressing room, at the moment, is disappointed and a bit flat. It is a bit strange because we have won the game and done well on the night, but the first 45 minutes at Old Trafford has cost us the tie. We were arguably the better side in the second half at Old Trafford and then we have come to the Etihad. We knew it was an uphill task, we gave ourselves every chance in the second half but it just wasn't to be.

“We knew that the first goal was crucial,”
continues Maguire.
“We felt that, if we got the first goal, then we would go on to win the tie. That wasn't to be. We felt like the last 15 to 20 minutes, we could have put them under a lot of pressure, it would have been a nervous stadium and maybe we could have got something, or created more chances than we did. We obviously had the free-kick on the edge of the box, which was a great chance. We huffed and puffed, we worked tirelessly and we won the game on the night, but, ultimately, the first 45 minutes at Old Trafford has cost us the tie.”
On the subject of Matic’s red card, received for two bookable offences, Maguire admits the loss of a key midfielder had an impact on the team’s attack – yet there is no fault at Nemanja’s door.

“It is tough to create chances here,”
says Harry.
“They are a good side and they have proved it over the last five years. At half-time we were in the perfect position. We wanted to stay in the game until the last 20 minutes, when we knew we could create momentum and pressure, like we did at Anfield [against Liverpool]. It is hard enough to get the ball off them when it is 11 v 11. We obviously lose Nemanja, who was excellent on the night, so there is no blame on him, but it was difficult when we went down to 10.”

Solskjaer 'proud' of United's effort Video

United return to action on Saturday with an important Premier League match against Wolverhampton Wanderers at Old Trafford and Maguire feels the squad must come out fighting, before enjoying a two-week winter break that will recharge the batteries. 

“Yeah, it is really important,” he states. “We have one last big push before the lads can put their feet up and have a little rest, which I do feel we need. 

“I think you saw in the second half that we looked a bit tired in our pressing. It is one last big push, we need a big result against Wolves, we need to come out fighting and put on a good performance.”

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