United Briefing: Maguire's respect for tough Toffee
Manchester United defender Harry Maguire believes stopping Dominic Calvert-Lewin will be key if the Reds are to record a second home Premier League win in the space of a week.
Maguire and co go into Saturday’s game with Everton on a high after the 9-0 thrashing of Southampton on Tuesday, but Calvert-Lewin – who, like Maguire, came through the ranks at Sheffield United – is also reinvigorated after a good midweek showing.
Harry’s England international team-mate struck what turned out to be the winner against Leeds to end an eight-game top-flight scoring drought and help the Toffees to only their fifth-ever league victory at Elland Road.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side now travel to Old Trafford on the back of their best away run since the mid-1980s, and the United skipper sees stemming Calvert-Lewin’s physical game as priority number one.
“Yeah, in the Premier League you play against different types of strikers week in, week out so you know every striker is going to bring something different, and everyone has strengths and everyone has weaknesses,” Harry told United Review, the official matchday programme.
“I know Dom from our time with England and he’s very physical and a handful, and we’ll need to be right on our game to keep him quiet.
“If we manage to do that, it will be a big part for us in, hopefully, taking steps towards the victory.”
Calvert-Lewin left the pitch without scoring in the two previous encounters with Everton this season, both at Goodison Park, but always carries a real threat.
United beat the Toffees 3-1 in the league in November and secured a late 2-0 Carabao Cup quarter-final victory on Merseyside just prior to Christmas.
Maguire was happy with the differing qualities the Reds showed in each of those games and is keen for us to replicate those results as we attempt to close the gap to Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table.
“I think they were both really resilient performances,” Maguire said.
“Obviously, it was late on in the cup game that we got the win, which we felt was thoroughly deserved.
“In the league, we fell behind very early, but we managed to fight back and show the character we’ve got in the squad which was important.
“They were probably two different ways of winning, but to go to Goodison and get two victories against a tough team was pleasing.
“Now we bring them to Old Trafford and we’ve got to do the same.”
United’s full-backs have been a topic of conversation in 2021, with Luke Shaw being praised as ‘the best left-back in the Premier League’ by club legend Denis Irwin and Aaron Wan-Bissaka winning consecutive club Man-of-the-Match awards.
Harry is delighted to see the pair flying down the wings and contributing to our attack, but also wanted to emphasise how much the defence is improving too, with the Southampton clean sheet being our fifth in 10 games across all competitions in 2021.
“Obviously, Luke and Aaron have been excellent of late. They’ve really picked up their attacking game and started to fly forward and create chances which is really important for the team. We know how big an influence full-backs in the modern day have on the attacking side of the game, as well as the defensive side.
“First and foremost, they’re defenders for us and I’ve got to say they’ve been brilliant on that side of things. They don’t get beaten one-v-one which is really important, they’re stopping crosses and they’ve been defending the back-post really well.
“As a back-four, we’re working hard together. I have big demands on my full-backs, I am expecting them to fly forward but I also expect them to fly back as well.
“Luke has been great and Aaron was great at Arsenal last weekend and it’s really important that they keep up this form to help the team.”
WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAY?
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will hold his pre-match press conference, to preview the visit of Everton to Old Trafford, and you can watch it live from 13:30 GMT on the usual club channels.
Hopefully the boss will provide an update on Edinson Cavani, who looks to be the Reds’ main doubt going into the game.
We’ll also have plenty more pre-match content, plus we’ll be announcing the winner of January’s Goal of the Month competition.
At 19:00 GMT, our Under-23s entertain Blackburn Rovers in Premier League 2, with the action live on MUTV.
United Daily: Maguire on the Munich anniversaryVideo
WHAT HAPPENED YESTERDAY?
We published more great videos from the 9-0 win over Southampton, including an Access All Areas edit and an All the Angles look at Scott McTominay’s super strike.
There was also a quiz on some of our biggest Premier League victories, plus reaction to some great debuts for our on-loan players and a match preview for United v Everton.