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Nemanja Matic urges his Manchester United teammates not to let top four finish slip away

Manchester United midfielder, Nemanja Matic has urged his teammates not to let their challenge to finish inside the top four of the Premier League this season slip away. United slipped back into fifth-place in the league last weekend after a 2-0 defeat to Arsenal at the Emirates. On Saturday, United exited the Emirates FA Cup after a 2-1 defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Chelsea played their game in hand over the weekend, which could have seen United slip back into sixth-place, which is where they spent the majority of the season under Jose Mourinho but Everton beat the London club, keeping them in sixth just a point behind United. It now gives United a lifeline. United find themselves two points from Arsenal (fourth) and three points from Tottenham Hotspur (third).

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United have obviously suffered two defeats on the bounce and after the international break, will need to find a way to get back to winning ways. The last victory for the club was the 3-1 win over Paris Saint-Germain which saw them set up a UEFA Champions League quarter-final against Barcelona with both legs being played in April, which is going to be another tough month for United. Matic, reported by Sky Sports, said:

“We have to give our best now to reach the top four. We cannot let it go like this, we will analyse everything as there is still a lot to play for.

“We have eight games to play in the Premier League and we are fighting for the top four.

“We have the Champions League as well. We will see what we are able to do and how much quality we have.

“Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham will also give their best to be in the top four. Everybody knows that.”

The defeat to Wolves was the worst performance under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, which was, in a way, suggested by the caretaker manager after the defeat. These things happen in football though and it is how teams come back from the defeats that matter. There will always be defeats in football and the teams that suffer them all need to respond in their next match and beyond.

Matic has been absent from many matches recently due to injury but he returned to action against Arsenal and his rustiness because of injury was clearly visible. The Serbian also played against Wolves and was still rusty, so perhaps the international break will help him find match fitness ahead of the visit of Watford to Old Trafford on the 30 March. Speaking about turning these results around, Matic said:

“I am sure he (Solskjaer) will turn this situation around and we will do better.”

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United though, will need to find a way to be the best they can be as the visit of Watford will not be particularly easy, given their current form and confidence level. After that, going into April, United will have another chance to beat Wolves before hosting Barcelona at Old Trafford. United then welcome West Ham United, before heading to Barcelona, then travelling to Everton before hosting both Manchester City and Chelsea.

April will now be much tougher for United. At least there is not another FA Cup match, which could have been the case. The seven matches which will be played in April though are all important and the squad needs to be ready. Those who are not helping the team should be left aside, whoever they are, in my opinion anyway. Solskjaer will need to motivate his team more than ever and they will all need to be ready.

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