Champions League qualification...


Champions League qualification not enough for Harry Maguire

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Qualifying for the Champions League will not sate the appetite of Manchester United captain Harry Maguire who is dead set on winning titles at Old Trafford.

Maguire signed six-year deal with United last summer after moving from Leicester City for a record fee of over €90 million.

The first half of the current Premier League season was not a good one for Maguire and his new team-mates but he believes manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has them on the right track.

"I think you can see from the start of the season, we look a lot more like a team. We can probably see where we want to go and where we want to head," Maguire told Gary Neville on Sky Sports.

"I knew when I first came to Manchester United that, Ole said to me a lot, this is a building process but we'll get to where we want to be and I can see where we are headed and the style that he wants to implement on our team.

"Don't get me wrong, there's plenty of aspects where we still need to improve, to get to the top where we want to be."

As the Premier League table stands, United are a massive 37 points behind leaders Liverpool but they have got themselves into a good position to fight for a Champions League place.

They lie in fifth place and just three points behind Chelsea but in the long term, that will not be enough for the ambitious England international.

"We don't want to be challenging for Champions League spots, we want to be challenging for titles so we know there's still a lot of improvement [needed] to get there but we feel like we're on the right track and I'm sure we'll get there," said Maguire.

"The expectation of playing for Manchester United. Every game is so big but I think I knew before coming to the club having spoke to ex-players.

"I spoke a lot to Jonny Evans who fully recommended it, obviously such an unbelievable club.

"It's more than a club, it's more than a football club. You see the way they've acted during this crisis and how classy they've been throughout it.

"It's more than a football club, it's something that's been working well in the community, working well in Manchester and you've seen that over the crisis, the many things that they've done."

The 27-year-old was made captain after the departure of Ashley Young to Internazionale back in January.

Maguire knows it means he must perform to his best every time he wears the United shirt and armband but revealed that he is not the only leader within the squad.

"First and foremost, it's a great privilege to be Manchester United captain," he said.

"Firstly, I've got to look after my own game. I've got to make sure that I'm performing at my own level and then obviously looking after the team.

"I think it's really important as a captain that you put the team [ahead] of your own performance but you've got to be on the pitch to implement that.

"Around the place, we've got a number of leaders now. Bruno [Fernandes] has come in and he has shown himself to be a leader.

"We've got a leadership group with a lot of senior pros in there so we're all trying to help and do our bit."

United had hit a bit of a purple patch just before the Premier League shutdown, unbeaten in five matches and the defence had only conceded one goal in those games.

They also managed to keep clean sheets in their last ten top-flight outings and the big centre-half feels there was one particular aspect of their performances that had improved.

"It's been a great run of form for clean sheets. You know better than anyone that sometimes, you probably defend better when you only concede one or two goals," Maguire told Neville.

"But you manage to keep a clean sheet and David [de Gea] pulls off two or three great saves and everyone's praising the defence.

"There were times at the start of the season when, one thing that we have shored up on at the moment is defending set plays.

"If you look back at our record before we started keeping this run of clean sheets, defending set plays, I'd say we were up there with one of the worst in the league.

"If you can't defend set plays and you're not scoring up the other end from them, you're not going to stand a chance in reaching where you want to go. They're such a big part of the game now.

"I think we've just gelled together more. It's a new back four. Luke [Shaw] has been playing really, really well of late. He's settled in at left-back. Then we've got Aaron [Wan Bissaka], me and Vic [Victor Lindelof].

"Eric [Bailly] is coming back and started pushing for a place and that makes everyone up their game because when he has come in he's done really well.

"We've got a settled back four and I think we're just learning each other's game really well.

"At the start of the season we conceded a lot of goals from set plays and when you look into that and you see that you conceded one or two goals where they could have easily been clean sheets too."

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Champions League Harry Maguire Manchester United Old Trafford Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Premier League Victor Lindelof

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