Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic has claimed manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be under pressure if his side fail to challenge for the Premier League title this season, as he also revealed he has had words with his boss over his omission from the United team.
In comments offered up to Serbian reporters ahead of the Euro 2020 qualifier against Portugal on Saturday, the experienced midfielder who has played just 22 of Premier League football this season suggested there will be no sympathy for Solskjaer if his policy of backing youthful performers to shine in his first team fails to reap rewards.
“The coach must opt for the team that will fight for the title and if he does not win, he bears the responsibility,” declared Matic.
“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.
“In the first two or three games he picked the team without me. 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.”
Solskjaer has embarked on a policy of stripping out high-profile star names from the United dressing room this summer, with Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez among those leaving the club.
Matic might well be next when the transfer window opens in January, with former United midfielder Paul Scholes warning his ex-teammate will only succeed if patience is shown by club’s hierarchy and supporters.
“I think you almost have to write United off for the next two years – this team – until Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has cleared everything he wants out; has four or five transfer windows,” Scholes told Sky Sports.
“United are going to be behind Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham.
“I think this is United at the minute; you have to be patient with the young players but the experienced players have to step up.
“We’ve seen over and over again how many mistakes experienced players are making. It’s difficult for young players to come into a team like that.”
Scholes also questioned Matic’s contribution to the United cause, after claiming he was poor on his substitute appearance at Southampton last weekend.
“It wasn’t the young players I was disappointed with, it was more the experienced players,” he added as he looked back on the 1-1 draw. “When Matic came on he constantly gave the ball away, Ashley Young gave the ball away and I don’t know how many times Paul Pogba lost possession.
“These are the people that young players are looking up to, the examples you’re looking at.“