Manchester United failure to challenge for Premier League title will fall on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, says Nemanja Matic

Out-of-favour midfielder has heaped the pressure on his own manager even if he has accepted that he is no longer first choice at Old Trafford

Jack de Menezes
Thursday 05 September 2019 08:22 BST
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Nemanja Matic has claimed that any Manchester United failure to compete for the Premier League title will rest on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s shoulders, with the out-of-favour midfielder ramping up the pressure on his own manager.

Matic has been given just 22 minutes of football this season under Solskjaer, having seen his place in the first team go to academy product Scott McTominay in midfield.

Although Matic has accepted that not everyone can play all the time, he did stress that Solskjaer’s selection decisions will be held to account if United do not live up to expectations this season.

"The coach must opt for the team that will fight for the title and if he does not win, he bears the responsibility," Matic said ahead of Serbia's Euro qualifier against Portugal on Saturday.

"I have been in football for a long time, I have played almost all the games for all the clubs in the last 10 years. In order for me to play, one had to sit on the bench and accept that fact, and so do I now."

United, who last won the league title in 2013, are currently eighth in the table after four games and trail league leaders Liverpool by seven points.

Solskjaer has picked 22-year-old McTominay to partner Paul Pogba in central midfield in their first four games, from which they have one win, one loss and two draws.

Matic said he respected the decision but was determined to prove to the Norwegian manager that he belonged in the starting line-up.

"In the first two or three games he picked the team without me," Matic, 31, added.

"I work as hard as I can. We respect the decision, it's up to me to show him that he was wrong and to bring me back to where I belong.

"There is no problem. I told him I disagreed with him but that he had to decide the team."

United return to league action after the international break when they host unbeaten Leicester City on 14 September.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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