Matic: Amad and Elanga will be great for us
Manchester United's young players showed they have a bright future at the club with their performances in Tuesday evening's close defeat to Leicester City, according to Nemanja Matic.
The Serbian midfielder captained United at Old Trafford as Anthony Elanga and Amad both made their Premier League debuts.
For Elanga, it was a first appearance in any senior competition for United, having joined the club at Under-12 level. Amad linked up with the Reds from Atalanta in January but the 18-year-old was yet to start a game, even if he already has a goal to his name (against AC Milan in the Europa League).
Leicester took the lead with a fantastic volley from Luke Thomas but United responded quickly, Amad assisting Mason Greenwood's equaliser just four minutes later. Caglar Soyuncu's second-half header condemned United to a first Premier League defeat since late January, but Matic took some positives.
"The young players who played tonight did an amazing job and showed that the club can count on them in the future," Matic explained to club media.
"They showed that they will be very important for our club in the future. They played with personality, they showed the character, so I was very happy to see them on the pitch. The way they played was great, against a very good side in Leicester, it's not easy to play.
"I remember when I was young, that I always watched the older players to see how they behave, how they play, how they train. I always try to be an example for the young players. I hope that I can help them."
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made 10 changes to the United side that had come from behind to beat Aston Villa only two days prior. It's the first time so many changes have been to a United team in the division since 2009.
"It was not easy to prepare for this game," admitted Matic.
"I have to say that I'm very happy with the way we played, especially in the first half. Of course, in the second half, we should have created more opportunities to score that second goal to kill the game. We are not happy when we lose a game.
"As you saw today, the manager had to make lots of changes to the team. Playing every second day is not easy, we don't have enough time to prepare our game in the best way. We'll try to recover as soon as possible and be ready for the Liverpool game. It's not easy and it's not usual - normally it's every three days - but we have to be ready, be fresh because, as you know, [Liverpool is] the most important game for our supporters."
Despite the disappointment for the team overall, it was an important night for the debutant youngsters but also Matic, who captained the side at a rainy Theatre of Dreams.
"Manchester United is one of the best clubs in the world," the 32-year-old said. "So being captain for this club is something incredible. I'm so proud to wear the armband."