Nemanja Matic.

Matic: We’ve been working on corners

Tuesday 18 February 2020 12:01

Nemanja Matic has revealed Manchester United worked on set-piece routines during our mid-season winter break, and the fruits of that labour were certainly evident on Monday night.

Harry Maguire grabbed his first Premier League goal for the Reds during our 2-0 win against Chelsea, when he connected perfectly with Bruno Fernandes’s corner in the 65th minute.

Our new Portuguese signing, who has already proved how accurate his crosses and passes can be, produced several delicious deliveries at Stamford Bridge and Maguire also got his head to another ball in the danger zone that Cesar Azpilicueta did well to clear.
Matic: Headers can be a strength Video

Matic: Headers can be a strength

Serbian midfielder Nemanja explains how set-piece work paid dividends against his former club...

Along with Bruno’s superb crosses, it was apparent on Monday that Maguire and Eric Bailly had a well-rehearsed plan from corners, and Chelsea struggled to deal with the duo’s movement in the box.

With the combination of superb delivery and movement, Matic is hopeful the Reds will start to add more set-piece goals to our play in the final months of the season.

“Yeah, I think this is the first or second goal we've scored in the league from a corner, so I’m happy,” the Serbian told MUTV after the match. 

“I’m happy because we worked a lot on that in the last few days. It’s a strength for the future, now that we can count on goals from headers. I’m happy with the team performance and we have to continue like this.”

Asked whether we’d been practising corners and free-kicks during our mid-season break, Matic responded: “Yeah, in the last few days we were working on that and I’m happy our work gets praised.”

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer also revealed to MUTV: "Before this game, we did have a little look at areas where Chelsea looked weaker and we felt that the back stick was for Harry today, and it was a pinpoint cross from Bruno."

The Reds’ win at Stamford Bridge could prove to be hugely significant in the race for the Champions League spots, with United now just three points behind the fourth-placed Blues.

Matic, a former Chelsea player, knows how important it was to take three points against a rival for the Champions League places.

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Ole: We defended like lions

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“It’s very big,” he said. “We knew if we lost here, it was going to be a very big gap between Chelsea and us, but,after these three points, I am very confident we can catch that fourth spot.

“We are still in a race. We are there and, as you know, the Premier League is hard; Chelsea will drop points and we have to take advantage of that. We still have hard games to play, but I am very confident we can catch them.

“Chelsea at [their] home is always hard, but we managed to deal with this pressure and we’ve won the last couple of games at this stadium. I hope we can continue like this.”

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