Harry Maguire told Marcus Rashford he had taken his toughest chance after the Manchester United striker scored the only goal of the game against Real Betis.
United won 1–0 in Sevilla to complete a 5–1 aggregate success and book a place in the quarter-finals of the Europa League, with Rashford scoring his 27th goal of the season.
His smashing 25-yard strike came just minutes after missing two golden opportunities at the break, but he showed his confidence was untouched and the 56th-minute goal eliminated any threat of a Betis comeback.
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“I just said to him in the dressing room, he scored the hardest one. I don’t know if it was bulging or something, it’s not up to him to miss that chance,” Maguire told MUTV.
“He’s on fire for us and scoring big goals in key moments and I think that’s an important goal in the game. We talked about how important the first goal was. After the first five minutes or the second half, the last 40 minutes into the game we really control the game and then we should have done the job by being a bit more clinical.”
United had to face an early storm from the hosts, who started the game roaring through a 54,000-strong crowd and had chances to strike first in the first quarter, but Maguire was happy with a professional performance.
“I think it was a good performance. I think we talked about how important the first goal was, as soon as we got the first goal we controlled the game thoroughly,” he said.
“We really should have pushed on and won the game 2-0 or 3-0 in the end. And we also talked about the first 20 minutes and how crucial they would be. We knew they would come out and absolutely throw .” all at us for 20 minutes and playing at a ridiculous intensity and one that we had to match and I felt like we matched it at times.
“Although we probably gave them a little bit, probably one or two more chances than we would have liked and David made some good saves, but they are a good team. They are fifth in La Liga and are a challenge for the Champions League places.”