Manchester United captain Harry Maguire is determined to “spoil” Chelsea’s promising start to life under Thomas Tuchel on Sunday.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s second-placed side head to Stamford Bridge six points better off than the in-form hosts, who have yet to lose since German Tuchel succeeded club great Frank Lampard last month.
Tuchel extended his unbeaten start to life at Chelsea to an eighth match in all competitions with Tuesday’s impressive 1-0 first-leg win against LaLiga leaders Atletico Madrid in the Champions League last-16.
United head to west London looking to maintain their own impressive record, having gone undefeated in a club best 19 successive top-flight away games – a run that started with last February’s 2-0 win at Stamford Bridge.
“Obviously, Chelsea’s going to be a tough game but we went there last year and won and we’ll be looking to do that again,” said skipper Maguire, who scored the second goal in that victory.
“They’re keeping their position very nicely and build up really well and not conceding many goals, so it’s a good start (for them). We’re hoping to spoil that.
“It’s a great reaction (to the change of manager). They’re a great group of players with tons of talent and the money they spent in the summer, they’re starting to gel, starting to tick, but we’ve got to look at ourselves, first and foremost.
“We go into the game full of confidence, full of belief. We’ll make sure we play to the ability of what we’re capable of and go and get the three points.”
Donny Van De Beek should return to the United fold at Stamford Bridge, but Solskjaer said Edinson Cavani and Scott McTominay continue to join Paul Pogba on the sidelines.
Juan Mata is out and Daniel James is being assessed after limping out of the Europa League last-32 second leg 0-0 draw with Real Sociedad on Thursday, when Solskjaer rested some players as they boasted a 4-0 first-leg lead.
Maguire was among those reduced to a watching brief but is sure to be restored to the starting line-up on Sunday as United continue to juggle domestic and European exertions at an important period of the season.
“Every three or four days you’ve got to be focused and mentally prepared to go and get the three points,” Maguire said.
“You’ve got to be prepared to keep winning, winning, winning and finding that consistency to enable us to get to where we want to be. If you want to get to where we want to be, you’ve got to be consistent.”
United’s reward for their triumph against Sociedad is a tough-looking Europa League last-16 tie against Serie A giants AC Milan, meaning Zlatan Ibrahimovic will return to Old Trafford next month.
“It certainly does (feel like a Champions League tie),” Maguire told club media. “AC Milan is a massive club, great tradition. Obviously, it’s at the San Siro. It’s an exciting tie to be involved in.
“But, like I say, we’re not looking at that one at the minute – we’ve probably got three, four games to play before that one. It’s a great tie and one we look forward to and we’ll be ready for when it comes around.”
Enjoy the convenience of having The Sunday Post delivered as a digital ePaper straight to your smartphone, tablet or computer.
Subscribe for only £5.49 a month and enjoy all the benefits of the printed paper as a digital replica.Subscribe