‘We expect to be there’: Harry Maguire hails Manchester United’s character and the impact of Bruno Fernandes after their stunning second half of the season earned a place in the Champions League
Harry Maguire showed his delight at seeing Manchester United seal a Champions League spot but admits there is more to come from his side.
The Manchester United captain led his side to a 2-0 win at his former employers Leicester City on the Premier League final day to end the season in third spot.
After drawing points in two out of their last three Premier League games before Sunday’s clash, many believed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side had blown their chance to gain Champions League football.
Harry Maguire praised Manchester United’s character in qualifying for the Champions League
Late strikes from Bruno Fernandes and Jesse Lingard gave United a 2-0 win at Leicester City
But Maguire admitted United were deserving of their spot in the top-four and can look ahead to next season with pride.
Speaking after the match, Maguire told Sky Sports: ‘It’s great character from the lads to go out and get what we wanted to do. To finish third should be a minimum at this club.
‘It was the exact game I thought it was going to be. We had one eye on the Chelsea game to see if a draw was going to be good enough.
‘But big players turn up in big moments, and I think we deserved the three points.
‘As a club we expect to be in the Champions League. The last few years have been tough.
‘People probably didn’t expect us to be in the top four at the end of the season.’
Maguire says the club belong in the Champions League but claims there is more to come
The Red Devils were lying in eighth place on Christmas Day and many believed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side were going to spend a second successive season away from Europe’s top table.
However, the January signing of Bruno Fernandes from Sporting Lisbon gave the Red Devils a mid-season boost which has fired them to Champions League football once again.
Maguire praised the Portuguese midfielder’s influence in his debut Premier League season but also admitted that United fixed the problems they had in defence during the second-half of the campaign.
Maguire (right) also revealed United worked hard to fix this season’s defensive problems
Maguire added: ‘We were dropping points in silly games. We’ve been better in recent weeks and to come from behind shows the character we’ve got in this group.
‘We just dipped so much in between games. At the start of the season we were conceding goal after goal defending set pieces. Defending set plays is huge as well, as basic as it is.
‘Bringing Bruno in has made a big difference.’
Maguire (left) also praised goalscorer Bruno Fernandes for his mid-season influence at United
United’s win comes at the expense of Maguire’s former employers Leicester who finish in fifth
United’s spot in the Champions League comes at the expense of Leicester City, who needed to beat Solskjaer’s side to seal a second Champions League appearance in their history.
Maguire, who left the Foxes for United 12 months ago after three seasons at the King Power, praised his former side for their excellent season which has seen them reach the Europa League.
Speaking about his King Power return, Maguire said: ‘It’s great to be back (at Leicester), they’ve had a great season.
‘They’ve dropped out at the wrong time, and to finish fifth for this club is a brilliant achievement.’