Ander Herrera and Nemanja Matic.

'We are happy to do the dirty work!'

Tuesday 19 February 2019 17:07

Manchester United midfielders Nemanja Matic and Ander Herrera say they are happy to keep doing much of the team’s hard labour if it means the Reds continue winning matches.

The hard-working pair have been a vital part of United’s resurgence in recent months and, alongside Paul Pogba in the centre of the park, have regularly overpowered the opposition.

Matic and Herrera again produced sensational performances as United beat Chelsea 2-0 on Monday night, with the former stopping the Blues' more creative players from finding time and space on the ball, while Herrera’s 31st-minute header opened the scoring at Stamford Bridge.
Our midfielder duo speaking to Inside United at the Aon Training Complex.
The victory was our third high-profile win in the capital since the turn of the year, to add to our impressive performances away to Tottenham and Arsenal. Crucial to those successes has been the selfless work of Matic and Herrera, which gives our more offensive players the freedom to attack.

“I said to the manager we are running a lot at the moment to make our forwards enjoy it,” Herrera jokingly told Inside United, the club's official monthly magazine.

“Sometimes it is hard for us but, as long as they score goals and as long as they make our fans enjoy the games, we will continue doing that. I don’t know for how long! I am almost 30 and you [Matic] are already 30… as long as they continue scoring goals and we keep winning games we will be fine, but we will probably need a long holiday afterwards!”

Matic added: “Oh, as long as they score three or four goals per game, we are fine. We can play for 10 more years!”
The Serbian has played alongside some of the world’s top midfielders, but rates Herrera up there among the best.

“I think Ander has everything that a midfield player needs to have – especially a Manchester United player who needs to have almost everything – to play, to win the games, to win trophies so I really enjoy playing with him,” said Matic.

“He has it all technically and he’s very good tactically, and he runs a lot. He helps the team and his team-mates, in this case me, because I play next to him.”

Likewise, Herrera is enjoying playing alongside Matic.

“He is a very experienced guy,” said the Spaniard. “He knows when he has to speed the game up or slow the game down.
Ander Herrera says

“The mood at the moment, the atmosphere, it’s fantastic and I think the fans feel like we are doing what they want us to do."

“When the team needs the ball, he’s always able to keep it, to have some passes to slow the game down and, when the team needs to move forward, he has the ability to do it. 

“The most difficult thing in football, in my opinion, is to make the right decisions. For example, when we’re playing away and all the atmosphere is against us, the crowd shouting and screaming and you have to make the right decisions and he does it perfectly.”

Matic and Herrera have started seven of the last eight in a midfield trio with Pogba and, while they are currently Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s preferred selection, they also know there is much more quality in United’s midfield ranks.

“What the manager has brought to the team is the message that we are all important,” said Herrera.
Matic and Herrera in the thick of things as usual in our recent win against Leicester.

“We are Manchester United players and we are always ready to fight, always ready to ask for the ball. 

“At the moment, it is true that us two plus Paul are playing more, but I’m sure Nemanja would agree with me that we have a lot of quality in the team – Fred can play, Scott [McTominay] has a lot of potential and energy, Andreas Pereira has a lot of qualities. I think we can all help. At the moment we are enjoying more time but the season is long and we will need everyone.

“The mood at the moment, the atmosphere, it’s fantastic and I think the fans feel like we are doing what they want us to do,” the 29-year-old added. 

“We are going now in the way that they want us to go – of course, winning, but also in the style of football, the attacking football, always trying to create chances, always trying to be the protagonist team on the pitch. 

“That’s what our fans want so the only thing we can say – and I think Nemanja is the same – is thank you to you all. It is going to be a very tough battle for the top four, and also for the Champions League, so we really need them.”

The latest edition of Inside United, featuring Victor Lindelof as the cover star, will be available to buy at Old Trafford before the big game with Liverpool on Sunday.

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