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Maguire picks out area Man Utd have been ‘poor’ in & talks up recent improvement

08:38 GMT 13/02/2020
Harry Maguire Manchester United 2019-20
The Red Devils defender is pleased to see Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side collecting more clean sheets, but concedes that work is required at set pieces

Harry Maguire admits Manchester United have been “poor from set-plays” this season, but is encouraged by recent clean sheets and his centre-half partnership with Victor Lindelof.

The Red Devils have sprung the odd defensive leak during the 2019-20 campaign.

A record-breaking deal for Maguire last summer was intended to help solve those issues, with £80 million ($104m) invested in the England international.

He has taken on captaincy duties at Old Trafford and become an important part of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s plans, but United remain a work in progress.

Maguire concedes that there is still room for improvement, despite the fact shut outs have been secured in their last three games across all competitions – against Tranmere, Manchester City and Wolves.

“We’re keeping a lot more clean sheets than we were at the start of season and we’ve never really been a team which has conceded a lot of chances,” Maguire told United’s official website of steps in the right direction and his standing alongside Lindelof.

“We’ve been poor from set-plays with our defending and we’ve had a couple of great goals scored against us from outside the box, but we haven’t really been having games where David [De Gea] has had to make five or six saves, apart from maybe the Carabao Cup second leg against [Manchester] City, when David was brilliant.

“It’s a partnership that’s building and I think we’ll get better and better, and start keeping more clean sheets like we have been doing recently.”

Solskjaer has favoured Maguire and Lindelof at the heart of his back four.

Two big-money additions have impressed on the whole and can be long-term solutions for the Red Devils in what has been a problematic area.

Sweden international Lindelof expects that to be the case, saying: “It’s great to play with Harry. He’s a fantastic player and it’s great to partner with him.

“We want to win more games and I think, for every game we play together, we become better and better.

“Hopefully, we can keep improving and help the team get more clean sheets and get more results.”

United will return to action after their winter break on Monday when they take in a crucial trip to fellow top-four hopefuls Chelsea.