Nemanja Matic has warned Liverpool not to expect such an easy ride in the Premier League this season as the Serbian targets a title challenge with Manchester United.
Liverpool ended their 30-year wait for the title with ease last season, winning the title with seven games to spare and finishing 18 points ahead of Manchester City and 33 points clear of United.
But Matic, who twice won the Premier League with Chelsea, is confident Jurgen Klopp’s side won’t have it so easy next season, with a challenge not just from a resurgent City, but from United.
Those 33 points look a significant gap to make up in the space of a season, but Matic is determined United are in the fight for top spot and at 32 he’s still aiming to bring the league title back to Old Trafford.
“From the next season there is no excuse. We have to go with everything. We have to fight for the title because I felt that this year we dropped some points too easy,” Matic told the UTD podcast.
“We allowed Liverpool to win [the title], I don’t know, ten games before the season finished. They won the league, so we cannot allow that. We need to fight to the end. We have to play with more confidence, with more responsibility. “
United made clear progress under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer last season, but talk of the title still seems ambitious at this stage.
But Matic knows what it takes to win trophies and he’s seen enough to believe United can challenge, especially given the form they showed in the final weeks of the Premier League season.
United were one of the league’s standout sides during Project Restart, with the run of form amid some free-flowing football securing third place in the Premier League table.
“My personal target is to win the league with United and I am sure that everyone wants to do the same. We have to promise our supporters that we will do our best – exactly what we have done after [the coronavirus lockdown] when we started to play again. That’s Manchester United,” said Matic.
“We have to win five, six consecutive games then you can drop some points, then again you have to do that run. Like that we can win the league. In the beginning of the season we were not stable, we won one or two games then we lost and we drew. Proper United is exactly what we did after [lockdown] and I hope we can continue like that next season.”