Manchester United look to next season’s title after 10th win in 11

Move to Premier League top four continues Solskjaer’s superb run as caretaker manager

Manchester United’s Nemanja Matic in action with Fulham’s Ryan Babel during their Premier League clash at Craven Cottage on Saturday. Photograph: Dylan Martinez/Reuters

Manchester United’s Nemanja Matic in action with Fulham’s Ryan Babel during their Premier League clash at Craven Cottage on Saturday. Photograph: Dylan Martinez/Reuters

 

Nemanja Matic is optimistic about next season’s title prospects after Manchester United moved into the Premier League’s top four for the first time since the opening weekend.

Saturday afternoon saw Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s superb start to life as caretaker manager continue with a comprehensive 3-0 victory at strugglers Fulham.

Anthony Martial scored a superb solo effort in between two Paul Pogba goals at Craven Cottage, putting United back in the Champions League spots after a six-month absence.

They had been 11 points off fourth when José Mourinho was sacked, but Solskjaer’s side have dropped just two points since his December appointment, and Matic was buoyed by this latest win.

“We knew that if we win then we will be in fourth position,” the defensive midfielder said. “Of course, Chelsea have one game less, but we are happy for three more points.

“We played well, we fight for each other. Clean sheet, we scored three goals, so we are very pleased.”

Upturn in fortunes

United are the Premier League’s in-form side, with their upturn in fortunes seeing the likes of Matic talk up next season’s championship chances.

“To win the league you need to win the games like we did in the last seven, eight games,” said Matic, a two-time Premier League winner with Chelsea.

If we play like this for the next season then we will be one of the teams who is going to fight for the title

“So you need to win six, seven games in a row, then you can drop some points, to draw, to lose one game.

“But we have to continue, we have to continue like this. We have to learn always, and this is the way to play.

“This is the way to fight so if we play like this for the next season then we will be one of the teams who is going to fight for the title.”

Crucial weeks

United can still lift a trophy this season, but face a few crucial weeks, with Paris Saint-Germain arriving at Old Trafford on Tuesday for the first leg of a Champions League last-16 tie before a trip to face Chelsea in the FA Cup beckons.

Solskjaer’s Reds head into those games unbeaten in 11 matches in all competitions, with the Norwegian reaping the rewards of his good mood behind the scenes as well as in front of the cameras.

“He’s always positive,” Matic said. “Of course, when we don’t play well, of course he needs to shout a little bit.

“But he’s the same – always positive. The same when I see him in the press conference, he’s like this with us also in the changing room.”

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