Champions League: We want to finish group stage with three points, says Nemanja Matic

Having already qualified top of the group after beating Villarreal in their last match, the midweek game will mean more for the opponents than for the Red Devils.

Nemanja Matic in a file photo; Credit: Twitter@NemanjaMatic
By Karthik Raman | Dec 8, 2021 | 3 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic is expecting a “very hard game” in Wednesday’s Champions League match against Young Boys. However, the Serbian is keen to end the group stages of the competition with three points in what will be the new interim manager Ralf Rangnick’s first European match with the club. Having already qualified top of the group after beating Villarreal in their last match, the midweek game will mean more for the opponents than for the Red Devils. After finishing as Group F winners, the European game provides a chance for both youngsters and senior players to be in the Manchester United line-up today.

Despite having a new manager in place, time on the training ground has been limited since Rangnick took over last week due to the tight winter schedule. Despite the busy run of games, the German’s first match ended in a 1-0 home victory against Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Sunday. Asked if the new manager is making small differences out there, Matic told the club media, “Yeah, of course. Every manager has his ideas, we are trying to adapt, of course, to give our best to help him adapt as soon as possible on us and, of course, we have to adapt to him. We are helping each other, at the moment, everything looks good, let’s see on the pitch in the future.”

“Yeah, we don’t have too much time to train. As you said, we play every three days but we are used to that. The manager knows – he knew what he could expect – so we have to learn his ideas step-by-step in every single day so we are using every single moment in the training session to understand his ideas.”

Matic on Young Boys

Despite playing regularly in a busy winter period, Manchester United have the luxury to rotate the squad in the mid-week match after sealing their knockout berth in the last game against Villarreal. “Yeah, it’s good. It’s good to take that pressure off, and, of course, we want to win the last game, especially at Old Trafford in front of our supporters. We want to finish these group stages with the three points to make our supporters happy. I think everyone is happy, everyone is ready [and] we want to finish this in the best possible way,” he explained.

Notably, Young Boys have beaten Manchester United in the opening match of the Champions League, and they can still qualify for the Europa League by finishing third. Hence, Matic is expecting a difficult clash against them on Wednesday night. “Yeah, they are a good team. It’s not the first time we played against them, [we did] a couple of years ago. We played against them and I remember we had some difficulties. They are a good squad, a good club, so we expect a very hard game and I think we are prepared very well. We know what we can expect, so our approach will be good, I’m sure,” Matic added.

With United sealing a last-16 berth already, Matic was asked whether they are starting to think about going a long way in this competition. He replied: “I always say the next game is the most important, so the next step is the most important. We are now focused on Young Boys, to win that, then, in the future, we will think about the next games. I said already, we cannot think about what’s going to happen in one or two, three months, we have to always be focused on the next day.”

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