Manchester United captain Harry Maguire has praised the Red Devils’ defensive efforts in their 2-0 win at Villarreal.
United secured their place in the last 16 of the Champions League with the victory, with Cristiano Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho grabbing the vital goals in Spain.
And Maguire has hailed the professionalism and solidity shown by the team.
“It’s massive for our season,” Maguire said of the win on BT Sport. “We knew going into the game that the last couple of months have been nowhere near good enough.
“Tonight was a big important result – we needed to come here and get a result, for our season and for our fans. We know how tough it’s been for them in recent weeks, but we need to make sure it’s a start and we need to push on.
“It wasn’t pretty, the first half especially. It was tough, tight and energy. Two teams who wanted to go for the victory but couldn’t lose the game as well. It was important to stay in the game, we made changes to freshen things up and I thought the lads who came off the bench helped us push on and we felt like we had that victory from the second half performance.
“I think the emphasis was on getting the result. We know hard coming away from home is in Europe – you’ve got to stay solid, not give away goals, I thought we did that and executed the plan really well. The second half it felt like we controlled it a lot better, especially after 60 minutes. We probably got what we deserved in the end because of the chances we created.”
Ronaldo has now scored six goals in five Champions League games for Man Utd since returning to the club in the summer. Maguire hailed his impact and insists the Red Devils need to become stronger defensively to get the best out of their star striker.
“He’s been brilliant. That’s what he does in his career,” Maguire added. “That’s why we need to be solid and get back to keeping clean sheets. We know if we keep a clean sheet you have an opportunity to win with him up front.
“As a Man United team we want to be on the front foot, we want to be aggressive, we want to play at a high tempo. In the first half it was a bit too edgy, we played with a little bit too much fear. But we stayed solid without putting enough pressure on the ball and we talked about that at half time.”