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Matic has visions of 2020 glory as Manchester United continue to rise

Matic has visions of 2020 glory as Manchester United continue to rise
© Reuters
Ole Gunnar Solksjaer's men claimed an important win at Craven Cottage on Saturday.

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.

Paul Pogba scored twice at Craven Cottage
Paul Pogba scored twice at Craven Cottage (John Walton/PA)

They had been 11 points off fourth when Jose 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."

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.

"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."

United can still lift a trophy this season but face a few crucial weeks, with Paris St 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."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer shares a joke with Mike Phelan
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer shares a joke with Mike Phelan (John Walton/PA)

Claudio Ranieri is another positive manager, but things continue to go awry for embattled Fulham.

Survival is looking increasingly unlikely as the weeks go by and some of the Craven Cottage faithful turned on the Italian during the second half.

"I have soldiers, because until the end we wanted to score the goal," Ranieri said. "Even at 3-0 we wanted to score the goals.

"When you play against champions you have to stay calm, don't lose your composure. That's the real problem. They wanted to do something, but you have to stay calm and think.

"I understand the fans want to see the players fight until the end. Of course we lost 3-0, it's not an easy result, we are in a very dangerous situation, I understand.

"I told my players it's important to show to our fans that we are alive, and that we will try to do our best until the end."


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Ryan Sessegnon in action during the Premier League game between Fulham and Watford on September 22, 2018
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City27212474205465
2Liverpool26205159154465
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs26200654252960
4Manchester UnitedMan Utd26156552351751
5Arsenal26155653371650
6Chelsea26155645291650
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves2611693433139
8Watford2610793434037
9Everton2796123639-333
10West Ham UnitedWest Ham2696113239-733
11Bournemouth26103133747-1033
12Leicester CityLeicester2695123134-332
13Crystal Palace2676132734-727
14Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2676132839-1127
15Burnley2676132947-1827
16Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2667132234-1225
17Cardiff CityCardiff2674152447-2325
18Southampton2659122844-1624
19Fulham2645172558-3317
20Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2625191448-3411

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