Manchester United beat Real Betis 1-0 this evening, 5-1 on aggregate, to secure a place in the Europa League quarter-final.
Harry Maguire captained the team, having found out earlier today that he has been picked for Gareth Southgate’s latest England squad, and spoke about how they had been prepared for a fast start to the game.
It’s been a good two games over the two legs. Betis are a good team, 5th in La Liga, they’re doing well this season. So we knew it wouldn’t be an easy draw. We knew in the first 20 minutes they’d come at us and throw everything at us, so if we saw that through it would be important part of the game to progress.
We knew it would be fast. We expected a fast start. We knew if we didn’t concede it would be a big part of the game well done. We conceded a few chances and were a bit sloppy with the ball, which they capitalised on, but we had chances ourselves. It could have been a couple of goals each in the first 20 minutes. But in the second half we controlled the game really well, got the goal that we deserved, and played good football from then on.
Maguire came in for Raphael Varane in the starting line-up this evening, making his sixth start in all competitions since the World Cup, but says a lack of playing time doesn’t impact him because of the work he puts in at Carrington.
I work hard at the training ground and that’s all you can do. I put everything in to training. We have good coaches at this club and they put on really good sessions for us. It’s not been too long since my last game, I think it was a couple of weeks ago, and I’ve started five or six or seven since the World Cup. Obviously I want to play more. I want to start more games. But I’m playing my part on and off the field. But it’s nice to be out there leading the team and getting the victory, which is obviously the most important part for me and the club.
I have an important role on and off the field. Every day I try and make this club succeed, whether I’m playing or not, so that’s my main focus at the moment. We’ve had a little setback in recent weeks so we’ve got to pick ourselves back up and I think it’s been a good response for the lads since then.