‘It felt like a crisis but we have come back’ – Maguire delighted with Manchester United reaction to Spurs mauling



The Red Devils defender revelled in the team’s improved form after an impressive win over RB Leipzig in the Champions League

Harry Maguire has expressed his delight with Manchester United’s response to being mauled by Tottenham before the international break.

United’s poor start to the 2019-20 campaign was compounded when they suffered a 6-1 defeat at home to Spurs on October 4.

Jose Mourinho masterminded the downfall of his former employers in spectacular fashion, with Harry Kane and Son Heung-min each grabbing a brace at Old Trafford.

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Many supporters and experts wrote off the Red Devils’ chances of competing for top honours in the wake of that result, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has overseen a mini-revival over the past fortnight.

Encouraging signs were shown during a 4-1 win at Newcastle, before United beat Paris Saint-Germain in their Champions League opener at Parc des Princes.

Chelsea disrupted their momentum by earning a 0-0 draw at Old Trafford on Sunday, but Solskjaer’s men got back on track by thrashing RB Leipzig at the same venue on Wednesday night.

A superb Marcus Rashford hat-trick and goals from Mason Greenwood and Anthony Martial gave the Red Devils a 5-0 win over the Bundesliga side, with Maguire pleased that defensive holes have been plugged since the shocking defeat to Tottenham.

“After Spurs, we were all devastated and just three games into the season it felt like it was a big crisis,” the United captain told MUTV. “It was quite a strange feeling, but we don’t expect to lose games at Old Trafford and we definitely don’t expect to lose games like we did.

“The first three games we were conceding far too many chances. So as a defensive unit, having kept the most clean sheets in Europe last season, we knew we had to improve to be more solid.

“We have worked hard on the training ground and since the international break we have gone back to not conceding chances like last year, when we were a solid unit and a solid base.

“It has been important, for me as a defender, to give the forward lads every opportunity to go and win the game. One, two, three goals it should end up in a win. At the moment we are doing that. It’s a start, but it is still an early win in the season.

“It is going to be a long journey, but we’ve got to improve. We know that and we are doing so at the minute, but there is a long way to go.”

Maguire added on the team’s improved form since the international break: “It is the start of a European campaign where we want to be successful. We don’t want to stop in the group stage; we want to get through and be successful in the knockout stages.

“That is the standards we have set and the expectations we have set. Last season you have seen a lot of our top performances brought out great results. We know we can get to the level and the level has to be hit more. It has got to be more consistent.

“I think you have seen that since the international break. We have come back with a great mentality. We needed a reaction. The only way was up.

“We had a bad start to the season, we knew that. We have had a good reaction [since]. Obviously, [we’re] disappointed not to win the game against Chelsea but we have another big game at the weekend [against Arsenal] and one we have to perform in like tonight.”

Asked to address the importance of squad depth amid a congested fixture list, Maguire responded: “It is going to be a strange season where you are playing every four days. It is important you rest, recover and it is nice for the gaffer to have the squad depth to choose from.

“He made five changes tonight and it hasn’t altered us. Credit to the boys playing and those not playing, keeping themselves fit and fresh and working hard in training every day.

“It is a group effort and we are going to need everyone this year if we are going to be successful and win games. It is really important.”



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