What a difference a year makes, says Maguire
Harry Maguire has hailed a change in Manchester United’s mindset that he believes can help rebuild fortress Old Trafford.
The Reds put ourselves in the thick of the 2021 Premier League title battle with a late winner against Wolves last night, with the 1-0 victory pushing us up into second place in the division.
But captain Maguire was keen to point out that the three points snatched in the 93rd minute might not have happened last season.
“I think last year in games like this we would push and then we’d concede a sloppy goal at the other end and we would have to go and chase the game,” Harry told us after the final whistle.
“We’d end up losing or drawing the game and giving ourselves too much to do.
“Every win is a big win. We’ve got great away form this year, so it's important we come here and start winning games at Old Trafford and making it hard for teams to come here and play.”
Our skipper admitted it was a game United had to roll their sleeves up to finally come out on top.
“It wasn’t our best performance,” he said. “The intensity wasn’t really there in our football, in our attacking play but these games you have got to dig in, keep the game at 0-0 and make sure you don’t concede.
“The second half we controlled really, really well, I didn’t feel like they were going to score in the game. The first half they had a couple of counter attacks and we adjusted at half-time and we nailed it in the second half.
“It is important to keep the game at 0-0 and in our team you always have that talent at the top end of the pitch that something might change and Marcus twisted and turned and got a slice of luck.
“But if anyone was going to win the game it was always going to be us.”
Maguire and defensive partner Eric Bailly were at the heart of a solid United showing in M16, but the former Leicester man claimed it was a team effort.
“We had great protection from Nemanja [Matic] and also Paul [Pogba], who I thought was excellent in the defensive work,” Maguire said.
“Luke [Shaw] has come on and does really well with some excellent tackles. It was an all-round defensive performance. I think defensively we were pretty solid and sound.
“We lacked a little bit of tempo playing the ball through the lines and finding Bruno (Fernandes) and we couldn’t quite grasp that but it is important to stay in the game, keep it at 0-0 and just wait for your chance, wait for your moment.
“In the second half we had a lot of pressure and controlled the game a lot better in the second half. We have this talent at the top of the pitch and it is nice to have that little bit of luck to go our way. The more you get into the box, the more chance you have of scoring goals. That luck turns: we had shots, blocks and handball shouts and it was nice to get a winner in the end.”
United are now just two points behind league leaders Liverpool with both sides having played 15 games. But Maguire is ready for a marathon.
“I don’t know what position we were in last new year but we are in a lot stronger position than we were last year,” he said.
“We are not getting carried away. It’s a long season. We are not half way through. Games come thick and fast. We will recover and try and get three points against Aston Villa on Friday night.”