Matic 'very, very confident' as Man Utd target third-place finish

Nemanja Matic Manchester UnitedGetty Images

Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic says that he is “very, very confident” as the Red Devils push to end the season in third place in the Premier League.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side currently lie fifth in the standings but were given a midweek boost as they saw rivals for the top four Leicester and Chelsea both unexpectedly slip up.

On paper, United have a relatively easy run in, with a Saturday match against Bournemouth followed by encounters against Aston Villa and Southampton.

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And following a thumping 3-0 win over in-form Sheffield United and a convincing success over Brighton, the Serbia international believes United’s momentum will carry them onto the podium.

“We don’t depend only on us, we have to win our games and wait for others to drop points and I hope we can reach that third spot and, if we do that, then the season will be fantastic for us. I’m very, very confident and I think the team looks well at the moment,” he told the club’s official website.

“For us, every game is a final, it doesn’t matter if it’s a real final in the FA Cup or the Europa League, for us every game is a final, we have to think like that. We have to try to win every match and, at the end, we will see.”

He is wary that Bournemouth are currently fighting for their lives and will not prove easy prey.

“The Premier League is very hard, anyone can beat anyone, and it cannot surprise me because I’ve been here a long time and I’ve seen many things and anything is possible,” he said.

“They’re a good team and, in the last few years, they have played some amazing football and won a lot of big games against big opponents. We will prepare for that game as we do for every game and we will try to give our best with a lot of respect for them, but we know our quality and what we have to do.”

Meanwhile, he revealed how he copes with playing in an empty stadium in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

“I try to imagine the stadium is full,” he said. “It’s strange and not good for us. We like to play in front of our supporters because they sing during the 90 minutes and that gives you more motivation and you give more. But the situation is like this and we have to adapt and it’s the same for everyone.”