Matic dismisses talk of Solskjaer rift

Manchester United

Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic has dismissed speculation he has fallen out with manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

The Serbia international has found himself out of favour at Old Trafford over the opening weeks of the new season, as he has only featured once in the Premier League to date, coming on for the final 22 minutes of Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Southampton at St Mary’s Stadium.

The likes of Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay have been preferred to Matic in the heart of the United midfield, while Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard and Andreas Pereira have all figured as part of a central three at various stages of the season.

That has led to suggestions that Matic, who was brought to United from Chelsea by former boss Jose Mourinho in 2017, has fallen out with Solskjaer, but the 31-year-old has been quick to dismiss those claims.

“In the first two or three games he (Solskjaer) determined the team without me,” Matic told reporters ahead of representing Serbia in their Euro 2020 qualifier with Portugal on Saturday.

“I work as hard as I can, we respect the decision, it is mine 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.”

Matic is also confident that he will be able to force his way back into the first-team picture at Old Trafford as the season develops, particularly as the Red Devils have made a lacklustre start to the campaign, winning just one of their opening four league games.

“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,” the Serbian added. “In order for me to play, one had to sit on the bench and accept that fact, and so do I now. The coach must opt for the team that will fight for the title, and if he does not win, he bears the responsibility.”

United will be back in action when they welcome Leicester to Old Trafford in the Premier League on September 14.

That contest will kick-start a busy period for the Red Devils, who will begin their Europa League campaign against Astana the following Thursday, with the increasing volume of fixtures likely to mean more regular minutes for Matic over the coming months.