Nemanja Matic concedes that Manchester United have put themselves under “more pressure” by failing to land a trophy in 2017-18.
Jose Mourinho had overseen three successes in his debut campaign – in the Community Shield, EFL Cup and Europa League – but ended his second at Old Trafford empty-handed.
More will now be expected from the Portuguese and his troops in 2018-19, as United seek to return to the winners’ enclosure, with Matic aware of the need to deliver for a demanding fan base.
The Serbia international midfielder told the club’s official website: “When you don’t win one year, the next year there is always more pressure. This is football. When you play for Manchester United, it is a normal thing and we have to accept that and deal with that.
“When you win the trophy it’s different and you feel better but the most important thing is that we can look in the mirror and know we gave our best. The team was sad after the game [FA Cup final]. We know we deserved more but this is football. This is a final – everything can happen – so as I said we have to be focused on the next challenge.
“I think that we have improved this year. As you know, United last year were sixth. The year before that, fifth. So we improve, we are second. The only team who is better than us this year is Man City.
“Obviously, they play amazing football. But we are second and we are in the Champions League next year, which is the most important thing.”
Inconsistency ultimately cost United dear in their efforts to secure silverware, with Matic conceding that more 90-minute performances will be required next term.
He added on the back of a 1-0 Wembley defeat to former club Chelsea which saw the Red Devils pay the price for some sloppy defending and toothless attacking: “We played 90 minutes’ good football at Wembley.
“I don’t know how it looked from the outside but I felt in the first half we also played football. Obviously it was better in the second half but in the first half we controlled the game, though we conceded a goal from one mistake.
“Some games we played much better in the second half. We have to try to play 90 minutes in the same way.”