Nemanja Matic doesn’t want to hear the excuses if Manchester United fail to challenge for the Premier League title next season.
The team showed what they can do post-lockdown and everyone will be looking early on to see if we mean business. Judging by our use of the transfer market so far this summer it’s difficult to see it but hopefully the current players have belief.
A top-four finish looked a tough task for United when the 2019-20 season resumed following the COVID-19 shutdown, with the Reds three points off Chelsea in fourth and eight off Leicester City in third.
United went unbeaten in their remaining nine games of the season, winning six and drawing three to finish third in the table, beating Leicester 2-0 on the final day if the season.
It was the January arrival of Bruno Fernandes that made a huge difference for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side. As a result we’ll be playing Champions League football next season.
Still, we can’t ignore the big domestic gap to close on Manchester City and Liverpool.
United have not had the type of transfer window that will see them make ground on their rivals, with City currently being linked with Lionel Messi, but as long as we push on again fans will be happy.
Fans know Solskjaer is up against it with the penny pinching Glazers who are more interested in taking dividends out of the club than strengthening the team.
Midfielder Matic played a key role during the run-in, and has since signed a new deal to extend his stay at Old Trafford, but he wants more than top-four finishes and I don’t blame him.
“From the next season there is no excuses,” Matic told the UTD Podcast. “We have to go with everything. We have to fight for the title because I felt that this year we dropped some points too easy.
“We allowed Liverpool to win [the title], I don’t know, ten games before the season finished. They won the league, so we cannot allow that. We need to fight to the end. We have to play with more confidence, with more responsibility.
“My personal target is to win the league with United and I am sure that everyone wants to do the same. We have to promise our supporters that we will do our best — exactly what we have do e after [the coronavirus lockdown] when we started to play again. That’s Manchester United.
“We have to win five, six consecutive games then you can drop some points, then again you have to do that run. Like that we can win the league. In the beginning of the season we were not stable, we won one or two games that we lost and we drew. Proper United is exactly what we did after [lockdown] and I hope we can continue like that next season.”
Matic retired from international football earlier this week.