United Briefing: Maguire's praise for Pogba
Manchester United captain Harry Maguire says he is impressed with both the squad’s mentality and Paul Pogba's recent performances.
The skipper was full of compliments for his French team-mate after our no.6 pulled off the extraordinary to secure three vital points against Fulham.
Once again, the Reds had to dig deep to claim another Premier League away win, after falling behind to an Ademola Lookman goal early on. But Edinson Cavani’s equaliser was followed up by Pogba’s special winner in the 65th minute.
Maguire spoke to us following the hard-earned win at Craven Cottage.
“Paul doesn’t have a weak foot,” the defender explained, when asked about the winning strike.
“You can see Paul, over the last month or so, he’s starting to get his fitness back and credit to Paul, coming back into the team and doing what he’s doing at the moment is great for us. He’s a big part of the dressing room, he’s a big player for us. We know he can produce moments of brilliance. For sure, I hope he carries on and I’m sure he will.”
Maguire: We won’t be looking at the tableVideo
Following the 2-1 goal, which came 25 minutes from the end of normal time, United had to defend. And the skipper admits Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side had to work hard to make sure the match ended with another triumph on the road.
“Yeah, definitely,” Maguire told us.
“Obviously, the last 10 to 15 minutes, we had to dig in and we defended well, [and] defended the box well. Obviously, they had the chance where it hits Eric [Bailly] and goes just past the post, thankfully. But for sure, we deserved the three points.
“We started the game sloppy but the reaction was brilliant. We've got to start the game better, we’ll look to get better, but the reaction was brilliant. We put them under a lot of pressure and it felt like a goal was coming. We felt like we deserved the three points.”
The win was United’s seventh after falling behind in the Premier League this season. Ole’s men have now gained 21 points from losing positions – over twice as many as any other Premier League side.
“It shows a great mentality in the squad,” the captain says.
“We do believe that we can get three points from any position. The first five minutes, we didn’t start well enough. It’s a poor goal to concede, it’s something we’ve worked on, as a back line we were all over the place. It’s unlike us and what we’ve been in recent weeks, so it’s something we need to work on. We’ll look at it, we’ll speak about it and we’ll improve, but the main part was the reaction.
“The reaction from the lads, to put pressure on, to go after them, not feeling sorry for ourselves and [to] get that equaliser. We managed to do that, deservedly. We started the second half so much better than we did in the first and I felt it was a matter of time until we scored that goal. Like you say, the last 10-15 minutes, were a bit nervy. The boys managed to see it out very well.”
90 in 20: Fulham 1 United 2Video
The Reds are now top of the league after 19 games, having accumulated 40 points so far. But despite being the table-toppers, the skipper isn’t getting carried away.
“We don’t speak about the table,” he revealed.
“We speak about the improvement. Two years ago, you wouldn’t say that we would challenge at the top of the table, for sure. We as players believe that we can; we expect that we can. This club expects to be challenging for the best trophies. It’s all about improvement, it’s all about improving each game, each training session. We need to improve on things. For sure, tonight, again, we can improve.
“Like you say, it’s nice to have the points tally but there’s a long way to go and a long way for us to make sure we’re still there at the end of the season. We don’t look at the table. It’s one game at a time. Another big game on Sunday and we’re looking forward to that now.”
WHAT'S HAPPENING TODAY?
We'll look back at another famous United win on the road, as we will deliver more post-match content, including highlights and interviews. A match quiz is to be expected, so keep an eye out for that one.
Following the win over Fulham, our sights will set on the next challenge, which is welcoming Liverpool for an Emirates FA Cup fourth-round clash on Sunday.
We would also like to wish Phil Neville, 44, and Nicky Butt, 46, the happiest of birthdays!
The win equalled a club-record 17 straight away league matches without defeat. Post-match, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Paul Pogba shared their views of the comeback win against Fulham.
Earlier in the day, we reported on two Premier League statements that provides updates on television coverage and concussion rules.
It was also confirmed that four of our five top-flight fixtures in February have been moved to suit TV.