Harry Maguire is pleased with the defensive improvements made by Manchester United on the back of their 6-1 home defeat to Tottenham this month.
United suffered their joint-heaviest defeat in the Premier League as they lost by a five-goal margin for the fourth time, and the first since October 2011 against Manchester City.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men are unbeaten in four matches since then, though, keeping back-to-back clean sheets against Chelsea and RB Leipzig after winning away at Newcastle United and Paris Saint-Germain.
Maguire, who has played every minute in the Premier League this season, admits his side were at “crisis” point after conceding 12 goals in their first three matches.
“After Tottenham, we were all devastated,” he told the club’s official website. “We were three games into the season but it felt like we were in a big crisis.
“It was quite a strange feeling, but we don’t expect to lose games at Old Trafford – and we definitely don’t expect to lose games like we did.
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“The first three games we were conceding far too many chances, so as a defensive unit, having kept the most clean sheets in Europe last year, we knew we had to improve, we had to be more solid.”
United faced 54 shots in their opening three top-flight matches – 18 of those on target – which is more than any other side over the same period, West Brom being the next worst with 52.
However, Solskjaer’s men have faced 13 shots in their past two outings – a tally bettered only by Brighton and Hove Albion (10) – which captain Maguire puts down to hard work behind the scenes.
“I think since the international break we have gone back to not conceding chances, as was the case last year,” he said. “We were a solid unit then and we played from a solid base.
“It has been really important – as a defender especially – to make sure that we give the front lads every opportunity to go and win the game.
“They score one, two, three goals, it should end up in a win and we’re doing that at the moment.
“It’s a start. It’s still early on this season. It is going to be a long journey but we’ve got to improve. We know that and we are doing so at the minute, but there’s a long way to go.”