Harry Maguire has expressed his belief that Manchester United will need to be “mentally strong” to return to the top, while reiterating his desire to win trophies over the next few years.
Maguire committed to a six-year contract at Old Trafford after completing a record £80 million ($99m) move from Leicester last summer, becoming the world’s most expensive defender in the process.
The 27-year-old has since justified his price tag by helping to transform the Red Devils into a solid defensive unit once again, striking up a formidable partnership with Victor Lindelof at the back.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer saw enough in Maguire to hand him the captain’s armband in January, and the change in leadership quickly inspired a turnaround in results.
United were unbeaten in 11 matches before the season was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic in March, with nine clean sheets recorded during that period.
A place in the Premier League’s top four is now within sight, while progress has also been made in the Europa League and FA Cup, and Maguire has been credited as one of the driving forces behind the team’s recent revival.
The England centre-back acknowledges the fact that United were far too inconsistent in the first half of the season, but feels positive signs of progress have been shown in 2020.
“As a Red, our toughest opponent, probably, is ourselves,” Maguire said during a Q&A for MUTV.
“I would say that, at times this year, as a team, we have probably let ourselves down by being a bit too inconsistent. Not just for a full game but during games.
“There have been times when we’ve been so good in games and then we’ve come off it a bit and been punished. So I’d say our toughest opponent is ourselves.
“We need to be mentally strong. We are a young group but we don’t really want to use that as an excuse. We want to be young but play mature. That is where we have really picked up in recent weeks.”
Maguire outlined his silverware ambitions upon his arrival at the Theatre of Dreams back in August, and doubled down on his comments while discussing his future goals.
“I have joined this club because I want to win trophies and I want to get silverware,” he added. “When I look back on my time at Manchester United, I want to make sure I have some trophies in that cabinet.”