United Briefing: Maguire eyes late Xmas present
Harry Maguire expects a difficult game against his former club Leicester City, but insists this confident Manchester United team is primed and ready to provide a late Christmas present for fans.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s players are buzzing after scoring 11 goals during a run of three successive wins across all competitions, mostly recently beating Everton 2-0 in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals.
Leicester are also performing well and recorded an excellent 2-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur last time out, which is why so many supporters can’t wait for Saturday’s 12:30 GMT kick-off.
“They’ve started really well, like they did last season,” explains Maguire in our preview. “They’re a great team with great players and a great manager.
Leicester v United: Solskjaer's press conference
Watch Ole's press conference to preview our Boxing Day match at Leicester, beginning with praise for Anthony Martial...
“I fully expected them to be up there challenging again for the top four. They had a great result against Spurs, I expected them to go there and get a result. Tactically they’re very good and it will be a tough challenge, but it’s one we’re looking forward to and one we go into with confidence.”
Memorably, United beat Leicester on the final day of last season to secure third place in the Premier League and Maguire wants his team-mates to adopt a similar mentality to that occasion.
“Last season it was a massive game, a cup final,” he says. “We needed to get a result there and we managed to do that, and we need to treat this game on Boxing Day as we did the game last season.
“That’s how every game should be, we can’t be dropping points. We want to go there, be positive and win the game. But for sure we know it will be a tough game because they’re a top team.”
“It’s just important to keep winning and looking after your own points tally. You can get ahead of yourself in terms of looking at other people’s results and you just need to look after yourself.
“If you keep winning games and putting three points on the table then you’ll be there or thereabouts. We’re not getting carried as I said. We had a big win [against Leeds] but there is lots of improvement. We need to make sure we’re challenging at the end of the season. That’s what we’ve got to aim for.”
During that time, he has faced an array of strikers and Harry is quick to cite his former Leicester team-mate, Jamie Vardy, as one of the best.
“Vards is a great player,” praises Maguire. “He obviously got the Golden Boot [in 2019/20] and I’m really pleased for him. He’s a great guy and top player. I played against him a lot in training and twice last year, so I know it will be a tough battle but hopefully me and the other centre-half can get on top of.”
Merry Christmas to all United supporters around the world celebrating the big day – we hope you have a great time with your loved ones!
Ole and the Reds are busy preparing for the Boxing Day match against Leicester, of course, and that early kick-off in the Premier League.
A reminder that MUTV’s live coverage from the King Power Stadium will start at 11:25 GMT, which is exactly five minutes before the line-ups are officially announced. We hope you will join us then.
The extended match highlights of the 2-0 win over Everton were made available in the morning, as well as our individual clips of Dean Henderson, Bruno Fernandes and Edinson Cavani.
Axel Tuanzebe offered his reaction to the Carabao Cup semi-final draw and Eric Bailly revealed his conversation with Richarlison on Instagram, which are both excellent reads.
Solskjaer’s press conference to preview Leicester away went live in the afternoon – you can watch every second of it, read a full transcript or just check out his comments on Anthony Martial.
Our latest episode of United Daily went live at 18:00 GMT – as it does every non-matchday – and this news bulletin is a must-watch, providing the latest interviews and insights from around the club.