It’s easy to get swept up in the week to week whirlwind of a Manchester United season. After some of the unwatchable displays we suffered in the early part of the campaign, the Bruno Fernandes inspired performances lately have been a joy to watch.
United are moving in the right direction and there is a good chance we could land fourth place. We are just three points back from Chelsea, and only eight back from Leicester in third.
Fourth, or even third, would seem like a success after low points we have endured this season.
But Nemanja Matic has provided a useful reality check that this would still not be good enough.
Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live [via MEN] ahead of the match with Everton, Matic spelled out what it means to be a Manchester United player.
He said: “If you are fifth in the table, the balance is not right especially for a club like Manchester United. We have to fight for the title.
“In the future, we will see if we are in a good way. I am not happy when we are in fifth position and I am always trying to win something.”
Matic conceded he would be happy if United end the season with a trophy, with a FA Cup and Europa League double still a possibility.
United must not fall into the same trap as Arsenal, who went from winning titles, to viewing fourth place as reason to celebrate like a big success.
Standards dropped, and they now sit down in 10th in the league and are out of Europe already.
Messages like Matic’s are important, as they reinforce how everybody at United should feel, from players to staff right up to senior management.
Matic’s future is uncertain, as his contract winds down three years after his £40 million move from Chelsea.
That’s why it’s so important that he instils his winner’s mentality into his teammates now, so players like Scott McTominay, Fred and Bruno Fernandes can hold the same high standards going forward.
Renewing Matic’s contract by an extra year is an option available to United which has not yet been taken up. It would be a smart move, but if it doesn’t happen, he is making sure he gets his message across.
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