Maguire: We showed our character again
What does the win say about our squad? Your captain, Harry Maguire, starts his interview with that question...
You came back at midnight on Friday after playing in Spain, but still came back to win… “Well, I think it showed in the first 30 minutes that we played, we couldn’t really get up to speed. There was nothing in the game and we probably had a bit more control in the game, but we didn’t play aggressive, we didn’t play on the front foot, we didn’t win enough second balls. After about, I think, probably about 30 minutes we dominated and got the result we deserved.” VAR didn’t prove to be pivotal in the end, but clearly you guys felt it was unjustified… “I think anybody that has watched football for a long time will get the same decision as what everyone thinks, unless you’re probably a Tottenham fan. That can’t be football. We play a contact sport where you’re touching your opponent. It’s not his elbow, it’s not his arm, it’s probably more his fingers. I haven’t properly seen it back; I seen it back on the monitor and thought there was no chance it was going to be overturned. It’s so disappointing. I don’t know what the referees will come out and say, I don’t know if they’ll come out and say it was the right decision, but I hope, for the love of the game, that they come out and say that they got that one wrong.” Where you guys fired up with a sense of injustice when you came out for the second half? Because you certainly seemed to play like that… “I think after the incident, for two or three minutes we lost our heads and our shape a bit; a few too many fouls and a couple of bookings. I’d say after it probably kicked us into gear, it put a more life into us because it made us play a little more aggressive, more on the front foot, more tackles, more headers. We really pinned them in. I think we came out in the second half knowing that we just needed to carry on playing how we played in the last 10 minutes of the first half and we’d get something from the game, and I think it showed. Cavani was obviously wrong denied a goal in the first half, but in the second he set one up for Fred and then scored a wonderful diving header, showing him at his best, I guess? “Definitely. I think he had a big part to play throughout the game. I think his press and his movement… I think we know that the first goal he scores was great play from Paul and then great movement and the finish, it’s a great ball from Mason. That’s what he’s done throughout his career, that movement in the box is the best that I’ve seen and the best that I’ve played against. That’s why he’s scored so many goals throughout his career and I think the rest of the lads have lots to learn from. He deserved that goal.” To produce that sort of performance – there must have been some tired legs in the last 15 minutes, but you seemed to finish very strongly? “Yeah, I think sometimes when you play away in Europe, I think sometimes the hardest part of the game is the start. I know it doesn’t really make sense or add up, but when I’ve looked at our performances after Europe we need to start the games more aggressive, more on the front foot, more tempo. I think we started a bit slow and it’s hard to get going. In the end, I think we were 2-1 up and we’re trying to hold onto the lead and we score, I think the energy is there, the adrenaline. It’s something that we do need to address when we come back from Europe, to start the game a lot quicker than we have been doing.” Twenty-eight points from losing positions is incredible – how do you keep doing it? “Yeah, first and foremost, it’s incredible and we need to stop conceding that first goal and make it a bit easier for our fans and the staff to watch. But we’re giving them great entertainment; it’s not like we’re trying to do that. Like I say, it’s something that shows great character and spirit. We have goals in this team and I think the three goals that we scored were high quality tonight. So I think it’s really important that we know that we can always get back into the game. I think we’ve showed that this year.”