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Mourinho: Maguire was 'solid like a rock' in Man Utd debut against Chelsea

19:00 BST 11/08/2019
Harry Maguire Manchester United 2019-20
The former manager was full of praise for the world's most expensive defender after his first Old Trafford outing, but had a warning for United fans

Jose Mourinho says Manchester United’s new record-breaking defender Harry Maguire was “solid like a rock” in his Premier League debut against Chelsea.

Maguire was named Man of the Match as United routed Frank Lampard’s side 4-0, with the centre-half powering a corner away with a trademark defensive header for the last touch of the game.

The 26-year-old registered more clearances, more interceptions and more blocks than any other player on the pitch, and Mourinho thinks he was good value for his accolade.

“I think he fully deserved Man of the Match,” Mourinho said on Sky Sports. “I think he was solid like a rock and as we know it is very important for a team to have that.

“Not just the tactical knowledge but that personality, that sense of reading the game, being alert all the time, the confidence to play. He was fantastic, absolutely deserved.

“A team can be very dangerous in attack but if you feel that a defensive mistake is just around the corner, you don’t play as well.

“When you can feel that there is something that really allows you to play, you are much more confident. [Victor] Lindelof can be a very good player and with Maguire I think they can be a very good couple.”

Maguire’s performance underlined a display in which United’s defence snuffed out the Chelsea threat and gave their attacking players licence to get forward. Having kept just one clean sheet against the other ‘big six’ teams last season, it was a much-needed platform on which to build a result.

Marcus Rashford scored twice, with Anthony Martial and fellow debutant Daniel James also on the scoresheet.

However, with United selling forward Romelu Lukaku to Inter and not replacing him before the transfer window closed, Mourinho thinks they will have more problems against teams who are less open than Chelsea.

“United will find it much more difficult to play against teams with compact blocks,” he said.

“If the blocks are low, it will be difficult to play without a striker.

“They don’t have a reason to feel anything but positive in this moment. It is an amazing result. It is very important the dressing room feel that they can be champions. I feel they will not be champions, but they can have a good season.”

United’s first away fixture of the campaign sees them travel to Molineux on August 19, facing a Wolves side they struggled against last season.