Nemanja Matic has sent a warning to Liverpool and declared Manchester United’s place at the top of the table is no fluke and claimed they are genuine contenders for the Premier League title.
Matic made a third successive Premier League appearance in United’s hard-fought 1-0 win at Burnley on Tuesday. It was a result that took United above Liverpool and to the top of the table.
It’s the first time United have topped the table in January since Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure back in 2013. It came courtesy of a Paul Pogba strike in the 71st minute.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was pleased with the win and said United “did it the hard way”.
The Norwegian also hailed Pogba and Matic in a smart midfield performance and the latter believes United are maturing.
“I think that these sort of wins show that we are ready to compete for the title,” Matic told Premier League Productions.
“Sometimes we have looked like a team who wants to score as soon as possible, then we get panicked.
“But I think today we showed more maturity, we showed we are more clever. And on this pitch, at this stadium against Burnley is always hard to win the games, not to concede a goal from long balls and set-pieces.
“We prepared the game well and I think we deserved these three points.
“We have a lot of quality in our team and in these kind of games you have to use that.
“You have to be patient, not to panic, because when you have that much quality over 90 minutes, one situation will decide and that was exactly what we did today.
United not ‘lucky’
“I’m happy for the team, for the team performance and the team spirit. Let’s see on Sunday against Liverpool. It’s the biggest derby in England and we go there to compete with them, to see where we are, one of the best teams in the league so I think that we are ready.”
After such a rapid rise, from 15th place in November to top spot, Matic insists it’s no fluke.
“We’ve played 17 games and we’re top of the table so that shows something,” added the 32-year-old
“We didn’t play five or six games and are top where you can say it’s lucky. After 17 games, it’s definitely not lucky and definitely there is quality.
“But we can’t relax, we have to concentrate until the end to go game by game. The next one is always the most important.”