Maguire says Man Utd must go to next level after clinching Champions League place

By Sports Desk July 26, 2020

Harry Maguire vowed reaching the Champions League was only the start for this Manchester United team as the captain said standards must continue to rise.

A 2-0 win at Leicester City, Maguire's former club, on the final day of the Premier League season meant Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's team finished in third position.

That had seemed a highly unlikely prospect at the start of the year, but the signing of Bruno Fernandes from Sporting CP in January transformed United's season.

Maguire pointed to that as a big factor in United's improvement, as he celebrated victory at the King Power Stadium.

"As a club we expect to be in the Champions League but the last few years have been tough," Maguire told Sky Sports.

"At the start of the season, the majority of people probably didn't expect us to be in the top four at the end of the season. We always had great faith in ourselves."

He added: "Next season we've got to keep improving."

Maguire said United had been "far too inconsistent, dropping silly points" early in the campaign.

"Performances weren't good enough in parts of the games and we were getting punished," said the England defender. "We've been a lot better of late and to come from the position we were in shows the great character that we've got in this group."

Maguire was asked what had changed about United, allowing them to surge up the table.

"It's hard to say. Obviously bringing Bruno in in January has made a big difference. He put us 1-0 up today," Maguire said.

Fernandes slotted a penalty home in the 71st minute, with Jesse Lingard sealing the points in stoppage time.

"Big players turn up in big moments," Maguire said. "It was a nervy, edgy game but we deserved the three points."

Leicester sat third when the Premier League resumed after its three-month suspension, triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.

They fell away badly and finished fifth, and Maguire had sympathy for his old club, now led by Brendan Rodgers.

"To finish fifth in the Premier League for this club is a huge achievement – a great set of players and a great manager," Maguire said. "I'm sure they'll have a bright future."

Related items

  • Arteta suggests Ozil might struggle to break into 'evolving' Arsenal side Arteta suggests Ozil might struggle to break into 'evolving' Arsenal side

    Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta suggested that it will be difficult for Mesut Ozil to force his way into an "evolving" Gunners side. 

    Ozil's contract expires at the end of the season and the 31-year-old's future has been the subject of intense speculation following his refusal to take a pay cut amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

    Arsenal's squad initially declined to take a 12.5 per cent wage reduction for 12 months but after Arteta reportedly intervened, the players – bar Ozil – agreed to accept the club's proposal.

    Ozil stated he did not agree to the pay cut as he felt the club forced the players into making a snap judgement.

    The former Germany international has not featured for the first team since the Premier League game with West Ham on March 7, and was again absent as Arsenal booked their spot in the EFL Cup fourth round with a 2-0 win over Leicester City on Wednesday. 

    Arteta batted away a string of questions regarding Ozil's future from journalists after the game, but the Spaniard did suggest he is likely to find it difficult to force his way into Arsenal's starting XI. 

    "The team is evolving; you can see the level they are achieving," he told a news conference. "This is where we are at the moment. We want to evolve more and play better and compete better.

    "I'm really happy with the performance here, how difficult they're making things for the coaching staff to select the squad.

    "You can see that the players we are changing, we are using, it's very difficult every week, not just for Mesut but for some other players as well, to make the squad. Every week we try to pick the right players.

    "It's difficult for others as well that aren't involved in the Premier League and didn't play tonight either. We have a squad of 26, 27 players at the moment and we can't give playing time to all of them.

    "I try to select the players that are, in my opinion, in better condition."

    Arteta made seven changes to the side that beat West Ham in the Premier League at the weekend, with an own goal from Christian Fuchs and a late second from Eddie Nketiah sealing the win. 

    Arsenal were good value for their victory and Arteta said he was pleased with his team's approach to what could have been a tricky fixture. 

    "I'm really happy with the performance; first of all the attitude and the way we approached the game mentally," he added.

    "The senior players took the lead straight away and I could see that they came here to win the game and after we're so happy with all our young players, the way they're developing and the way they played."

  • Leicester City 0-2 Arsenal: Fuchs own goal and Nketiah strike seal EFL Cup win Leicester City 0-2 Arsenal: Fuchs own goal and Nketiah strike seal EFL Cup win

    Arsenal are into the EFL Cup fourth round after Christian Fuchs' own goal and a late effort from Eddie Nketiah handed them a 2-0 win at the King Power Stadium.

    Mikel Arteta made seven changes to the side that beat West Ham in the Premier League on Saturday and his new-look XI struggled to lay a glove on the hosts during a tepid first half. 

    They improved after the break, though, and opened the scoring shortly before the hour mark when Fuchs inadvertently put through his own net after Nicolas Pepe's shot had come back off the post.

    Nketiah bundled home from close range in the 90th minute to seal the win and ensure Arsenal made it three wins from three at the start of the 2020-21 season.

    Both goalkeepers were called into action inside the opening 10 minutes, Danny Ward tipping over Reiss Nelson's fizzing drive from distance and Bernd Leno denying Kelechi Iheanacho at the other end. 

    The lively Nelson missed a glorious opportunity to open the scoring shortly after the half-hour mark, firing wide from 12 yards after finding space at a corner. 

    Leicester almost went into the interval ahead but James Maddison's curled effort from 20 yards crashed back off Leno's left-hand post. 

    After a sedate opening to the second period, Arsenal forged ahead in the 57th minute. Pepe's initial shot was pawed away by Ward, but the Ivorian's follow-up shot from an acute angle flew back off the post into Fuchs and over the line.

    Wes Morgan denied Arsenal a second, heading Nketiah's looping effort off the line, while Ayoze Perez inexplicably headed wide 10 minutes from time in what was comfortably the Foxes' best chance of the game. 

    Nketiah then added Arsenal's second late on, scuffing home from inside the six-yard box after substitute Hector Bellerin's mazy run, with Daniel Amartey somehow failing to clear the danger. 

  • Frank de Boer named as Ronald Koeman's Netherlands successor Frank de Boer named as Ronald Koeman's Netherlands successor

    Frank de Boer has been appointed as the new Netherlands head coach, the Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB) confirmed on Wednesday.

    Ronald Koeman left his post as national team boss last month to take over at Barcelona following the dismissal of Quique Setien.

    De Boer, who made 112 Netherlands appearances and played at two World Cups for his country, has signed a two-year deal that takes him through to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

    The 50-year-old enjoyed a promising start to his coaching career, leading Ajax to four straight Eredivisie titles between 2011 and 2014.

    However, his appointment may come as somewhat of a surprise given a poor track record since departing the Amsterdam club.

    An ill-fated 85-day spell as Inter coach was followed by a forgettable 10-week stay in charge of Crystal Palace.

    De Boer did win the U.S. Open Cup during an 18-month stint at MLS side Atlanta United but he departed the team two months ago following an indifferent start to the season.

    Previously, De Boer worked for the national team as assistant coach to Bert van Marwijk at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa where Netherlands were beaten by Spain in the final.

    His first assignment comes in the friendly match against Mexico on October 7 before the Nations League double header against Bosnia-Herzegovina and Italy.

    Koeman was originally scheduled to remain in the post through Euro 2020 but tournament was rescheduled due to the coronavirus pandemic and he opted not to pass up the chance to take over at Barca.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.