Nemanja Matic has admitted that there is no excuse for Manchester United’s timid and terrible performance in the UEFA Champions League round of 16.
Over two legs against La Liga outfit Sevilla, the Reds had just four shots on target and failed to take the game to the Andalusians at any point.
They paid the price ultimately, conceding two quick goals to substitute Ben Yedder having been accepting of a 0-0 draw away from home that left them in a perilous position at Old Trafford on Tuesday.
He scored twice, in the end, and United could grab one back through Romelu Lukaku but even after the sub’s double, Jose Mourinho’s side were lethargic, wasteful and rubbish.
“We are not happy because we are out of the Champions League, but this is football,” Matic accepted after the game. “We have to accept it and to focus on the next game, which is very important also for us, in the FA Cup.
“We focus also for the league, but we have to say congratulations to the team, Sevilla. They played really well, and they deserved to go through.”
United went into Tuesday night’s big game on the back of three fantastic wins, including two comebacks, against rivals Chelsea and Liverpool as well as Crystal Palace.
Matic said that should have driven United on, but it didn’t.
“There is no excuse. There is no excuse,” the Serbian continued. “We had a big game, as you know, against Liverpool.
“We won. With high confidence we came to play this game, but today they played better than us and they deserved [to win].
“We have to be focused on that because they’re a good team and we have to win. We have to go with everything to try to go through.”
Matic called on his teammates to respond to defeat in a good manner. United have an FA Cup quarter-final against Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday and, as the club’s only remaining chance of silverware this season, it’s a must-win game, but the players must also show the right attitude and performance, not just win, after the dirge on Tuesday.
“We know that our supporters are sad because of this result. We are also sad, and we have to win to go back to winning ways, so I hope that the team reaction is going to be good,” Matic said.
“We have to forget this. We have to review our mistakes, to see what we have to do better and on Saturday is a new game.
“Life goes on and this is football, we have to accept that.”