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Harry Maguire calls on Manchester United to prioritise clean sheets after Newcastle win

Harry Maguire

Harry Maguire believes Manchester United need to tighten up defensively as they ramp up their bid for a top-four place.

A 4-1 victory over Newcastle on Boxing Day saw Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's move to within four points of Chelsea in the final Champions League qualification spot.

However, Matty Longstaff's first-half goal at Old Trafford means United have not kept a clean sheet in any of their last 14 Premier League matches.

Solskjaer's side have registered just two top-flight shut-outs all season, which is the joint-worst record in the division.

And Maguire believes United must become more solid if they are to finish in the top four.

"We want to get back to clean sheets; we're working hard to get clean sheets,” the centre-back said.

“We're not conceding many chances in many games, but it's something that we're going to work on. We're going to improve.

"[Consistency] is the key. You've got to put performances together, put wins together.

"It's really important that you go on runs in this league. We haven't really found that consistency to put three, four, five wins together. It's something that we need to work on.

"We're a young group, we're learning, [and] there are positives to take from today but now we're focused on Saturday [when they face Burnley].”

After this weekend's trip to Turf Moor, United travel to the Emirates Stadium to face Arsenal on New Year's Day.

And Maguire believes the team's youthfulness will work in their favour during the hectic festive period.

"We're a fit bunch. The boys worked tirelessly in pre-season and this is what it's for," he added. "We're fully focused now on Saturday and that's how it should be.

“It's tough, there's no doubt about it. A 90-minute game in the Premier League takes a lot out of you, but it's the same for every team.

"There'll be a few teams out there that will probably get that extra day's rest. But Burnley have played today as well, so we've got to make sure our mentality is right going in to the game.”

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