Nemanja Matic Urges Man United to Have League Title Ambitions

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Manchester United have not really contended for the Premier League title since Sir Alex Ferguson retired, having won it during his final season in 2012-13. They did finish second in Jose Mourinho’s second season with the club in 2017-18, but were still 22 points off the pace of their neighbors, champions and points centurions Manchester City.

They did finish third this season (the second highest finish since Sir Alex retired), and that was a remarkable achievement considering where they were in December, but they were still 33 points behind the perch Liverpool are back on.

United were also 15 points behind second place City. Other than the one year disaster that was David Moyes, this was also their lowest season point total in a generation. And the last time they finished this far out of first it was way back in the 1970s. So when current midfielder Nemanja Matic says he wants his side to fight for the league title, all the way to the season’s final day, he’s spotlighting a great divide.

Although it’s a massive gap to be bridged, he’s saying all the right things, Old Trafford should compete for titles on the regular.

“Me, personally, I would like to win the Premier League with Manchester United,” the Serbian said to club magazine Inside United.

“I think that our club always needs to fight for the title. We always need to try to do the best for this club, which we are doing at the moment, and I think we cannot allow any club to win the league seven or 10 games before the season finishes. So we have to fight until the end.”

How can they get across that grand canyon to where the top two reside? Well, they’ve made massive progress as they were a completely different team once they acquired Bruno Fernandes in the winter window. They were in fine form after the restart and they’ll start next season undefeated in their last 14 league contests.

And maybe it’s as simple as finally getting Jadon Sancho signed. Perhaps the Borussia Dortmund winger is the missing piece. Or it could be more complicated than that. David de Gea might need to return to the form he consistently displayed prior to the 2018 World Cup. And United probably also need more depth at left back, perhaps an upgrade in central defense and maybe another creative, holding midfielder.

Sure that’s a long list of needs and wants, but again we’re talking about a 33 point difference here. Still Nemanja Matic is right to dream big as his career at United probably won’t last beyond the next couple of seasons. For him, the time is definitely now.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly contributes to WGN TVSports IllustratedChicago Now and SB Nation.

You can follow Banks, a former writer for Chicago Tribune.comon Twitter and his cat on Instagram.

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