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22nd Apr 2019

Nemanja Matic deserves credit for assessment of his Everton performance

Patrick McCarry

Manchester United were humiliated at Goodison Park on Sunday

Nemanja Matic received a rating of 0/10 from Manchester Evening News following his side’s 4-0 loss to Everton.

In his assessment of the Serbian’s performance in the Manchester United midfield, Samuel Luckhurst wrote:

‘Played as though quick sand was beneath the pitch. Pedestrian throughout.’

Following the game, United’s heaviest defeat in three years, Matic came out and admitted he was one of the main players to blame for the “shameful” performance, and loss.

Former United defender Gary Neville lamented, after the game, that Everton’s starting XI had out-run Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team by four kilometres in the first half. United were out-worked, out-foxed and out-classed by The Toffees and that was starkly demonstrated with Gylfi Siggurdson’s 28-yard strike, which made it 2-0.

United spurned possession in midfield and were completely lacking in shape as they got back. Diogo Dalot was covering centre-half but he, inexplicably, drifted out of the picture as Chris Smalling ran back and showed no interest in blocking Siggurdson.

Perhaps Dalot expected Matic to get closer to the Icelandic international and pressure him. As it was, one step inside flummoxed Matic and gave Siggurdson the freedom of Goodison Park to shoot. And shoot he did.

David De Gea should have saved the shot but he was just as complicit as Matic and Dalot in his side falling 2-0 behind.

Following the game, Matic told beIN Sports, “It’s one of the worst games for me personally, and for the team.

“I think we deserved to lose. We did not play how we wanted to play. It’s hard for me to speak about. It’s not for the young players. I’m one of the most senior players. If anyone is to blame for this it’s me.

“When you win the battle in midfield it’s easier to play. We didn’t do that today.”

The 30-year-old won two Premier League titles at Chelsea but has struggled to impose himself as a midfield enforcer, and defensive shield, for United. His first season at Old Trafford was decent but he has been a step or two off the pace in the current campaign.

“It’s shameful,” Matic continued. “We have to look for the mirror, everyone has to see where he made mistake and what he must do better.

“The more guilty are the more experienced players and in this case it’s me.

“It’s difficult to answer what is wrong. Our approach to the game was not good, everyone needs to take responsibility during the game, with the ball, without the ball, everyone needs to run more then our quality will show.”

Matic deserves credit for stepping forward to take his share of the blame, but there is plenty of it to go around. United fans will appreciate him holding his hands up.

Up next for the midfielder and United is a league clash with neighbours Manchester City at Old Trafford on Wednesday.