Nemanja Matic has noted that the prospect of Manchester United fans having to watch as Manchester City won the title was what spurred them on during their remarkable second half comeback win over Pep Guardiola’s team.
The hosts looked set to win the title against their bitter rivals following first half goals from Vincent Kompany and Ilkay Gundogan.
But Man United, headed by the superb Paul Pogba, mounted an historic comeback to win 3-2 and spoil what would have been a truly unbearable party to watch.
And Matic, reflecting on the game, noted that he kept the supporters in mind during the second period.
“I think this is the best game for our fans, for our supporters, because I know what this game means for them and especially we knew if they won this game they would have been champions and we didn’t allow them to celebrate in front of our supporters and I think for our supporters it was the best way to show the proud and the best way to show how we fight for our club,” he said.
It was a game that perfectly captured the sheer frustration along with the absolute brilliance of this United side – so often stultified yet undoubtedly blessed with a winning nous right at its core.
And it was that latter side of United’s character which came to the fore in the second half as Mourinho’s side, so regularly weighed down by one thing or another, simply threw the kitchen sink at City.
Pogba told players at half time that there was nothing to lose and United played with that exact mindset, committing bodies forward and showing genuine ambition on the ball, finally ridding themselves of an inferiority complex that allowed for City to win at Old Trafford in December and race into the ascendancy earlier in the game.
They simply believed in themselves, in each other, and it paid off big time.