‘BLAME ME FOR SOME BAD RE­SULTS’

Sunday Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - OLD TRAFFORD REVOLUTION IS TAKING SHAPE FOR SOLSKJ - BY STEVE BATES

BLAME for some of Manchester United’s wretched per­for­mances last sea­son must go to Ne­manja Matic ad­mits the Ser­bian, say­ing: “I let my­self and the team down.”

The ex­pe­ri­enced £40mil­lion hold­ing mid­fielder played 28 of United’s 38 Pre­mier League games as United stum­bled to a sixth-place fin­ish.

Matic started in both the shock­ing 4-0 away ham­mer­ing at Ever­ton and the dis­mal 1-1 draw at rel­e­gated Hud­der­s­field at the end of the sea­son, as United’s cam­paign came to a mis­er­able fin­ish.

And the former Chelsea ti­tle-win­ner ad­mits it was painful to be part of a woe­ful cli­max to an­other sea­son of un­der­achieve­ment by United.

“Of course, it hurt,” he said. “When I come home, I always look in the mirror and I want to see where I could do bet­ter, where I can im­prove. I wasn’t happy with the per­for­mances. There were some games that I played great, there were some games I didn’t per­form the way I wanted. But this is foot­ball. It can’t always be at that high level and I am sure this sea­son is go­ing to be bet­ter.”

Matic has looked lean, fit and en­er­gised on United’s sum­mer tour – and claims his first proper, full pre-sea­son in three years is al­ready pay­ing div­i­dends.

Af­ter play­ing all three of Ser­bia’s 2018 World Cup games against Costa Rica, Switzer­land and Brazil in Rus­sia last sum­mer, Matic was given an ex­tended break and missed United’s pre-sea­son con­di­tion­ing work. That left him un­der­cooked when the sea­son started and the star, 30, ad­mits it had an im­pact on his cam­paign.

This time, though, he is rar­ing to go in United’s open­ing game of the new sea­son against Chelsea at Old Traf­ford.

“I have started this pre-sea­son with the team af­ter three years without pre-sea­son,” he said. “I am sure I will per­form in the way I’m used to.”

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