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‘Man Utd want to challenge for title, not top four’ – Maguire sees Red Devils on ‘right track’

6:03 PM MYT 20/04/2020
Harry Maguire Manchester United 2019-20
The most expensive defender in world football believes Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has those at Old Trafford building towards a bright future

Harry Maguire admits challenging for top-four finishes is not enough for Manchester United, with the Red Devils determined to force their way back into Premier League title contention.

Those at Old Trafford have found themselves coming up short in that particular race since Sir Alex Ferguson headed into retirement back in 2013.

Jose Mourinho briefly promised to bridge the gap when securing a runners-up spot, but further regression has been endured since then.

The 2019-20 campaign has seen Champions League qualification represent the height of United’s ambition once again, with runaway leaders Liverpool out of sight.

Maguire says more is being demanded inside the Red Devils camp and believes Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has the club heading in the right direction once more.

“You can see from the start of the season that we look a lot more like a team,” Maguire told Sky Sports.

“You can see where we want to be and where we want to head.

“I knew when I first came to Manchester United that Ole had said loads that it’s a building process but we will get to where we want to be. I can see where we are heading and the style that he wants to implement on the team.

“Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of aspects that we still need to improve to get to the top, where we want to be.

“We don’t like challenging for the Champions League spots, we want to be challenging for titles. We know there is still a lot of improvement to be made, but we feel like we’re on the right track and I’m sure eventually we’ll get there.”

The England international added: “Playing for Manchester United, every game is so big.

“I knew before coming to the club having spoken to ex-players – I spoke to Jonny Evans a lot, who recommended an unbelievable club – it’s more than a club. You have seen the way they have acted during this crisis, how classy they have been, it’s more than a football club, it’s something that works well in the community.”

United were 11 games unbeaten across all competitions before football shut down amid the coronavirus crisis, with defensive leaks being plugged as a new-look back four gels.

Maguire is encouraged by the progress being made, saying of the unit he forms a major part of: “It’s been a great run of form for clean sheets.

“Sometimes you can play in games and play better when you concede one or two goals but [some games] you manage to keep a clean sheet, David [de Gea] makes one or two saves and everyone is praising the defence.

“One thing we have shored up on at the moment is set-plays. You look back at our record before this run of clean sheets, defending set-plays we were up there with one of the worst in the league.

“If you do that and aren’t scoring from them at the other end, you aren’t going to stand a chance in getting where you want to go because they are such a big part of the game.

“It’s just gelled together more. It’s a new back four. We have got a settled back four.”