United Briefing: We're ready for Roma
Nemanja Matic says Manchester United are ready to reach our first major final since 2018 after the Reds beat Granada to book a place in the UEFA Europa League last four.
Serbian midfielder Matic was a key performer in the 2-0 second-leg victory over the Andalusians that sealed our spot in the semis, and the 32-year-old says the squad are desperate to go one better this time and reach the competition’s final in Gdansk, Poland.
“I think it's time to get to the final and win this trophy,” stresses Matic, “but it's going to be hard. We respect Roma, we know that they are a good squad with a good coach and a big club.“It's going to be interesting, but we have to believe in our qualities. We want to play in that big final and bring trophies to Old Trafford because this club deserves the best.”
The Giallorossi lie seventh in Serie A, but boast top players like former Reds Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Chris Smalling, plus one-time Manchester City hero Edin Dzeko.
“It’s a big game, a big semi-final for us. We are very happy that we can play against a big club and top players,” enthuses our no.31.
“I’m happy that we can compare our qualities against them in the semi-finals. We expect a very interesting game for the fans. We are ready and happy. We will see what we’re able to make [happen] in that semi-final.”
Matic, who played for Benfica in the 2013 Europa League final, says the team can gain confidence from our knockout successes against Real Sociedad and AC Milan, plus a thoroughly professional two legs against Granada.
“We had to keep our concentration from the first until the last minute,” he explains. “We managed to do it well. Of course, they created some problems because they have good players and they play good football, but I think we absolutely deserve to be in the semi-final.
“We had this [the game] under control all the time I think. So I'm happy with the team performance and the team reactions, so let's move to the next one and we concentrate until the last game.”
The experienced ex-Chelsea man also had a special word for Edinson Cavani, who is adding a new dimension to United’s forward line – and plenty of trophy-winning experience.
“He's a top striker, very professional,” he said of the Uruguayan striker, whose early goal against Granada put the tie out of reach for Diego Martinez’s side.
“I think those kids that we have in the squad can learn a lot from him every day so I'm very happy that we have him in the team. He's a big name and he shows every day why he's a big name and why he scores so many goals. He's a very important player for us and he will be very important until the end of the season.”
Pics: Through to the last four Gallery
Check out the best images from OT as United book a European semi-final spot.
WHAT’S HAPPENING TODAYYou’ll hear from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ahead of Sunday’s Premier League match against Burnley. The boss spoke to the media after the Granada game last night, but his thoughts on the Clarets match this weekend are embargoed until today. Keep your eyes on ManUtd.com and our Official App to get hold of Ole’s thoughts at 13:30 BST.
Our Under-23s are in action, too. We take on our cross-town rivals Manchester City at City's Academy Stadium, with the Premier League 2 clash kicking off at 19:00 BST. You can watch this Manchester derby live on MUTV from 18:45 BST.
WHAT HAPPENED YESTERDAY?
We progressed to the semi-finals of the UEFA Europa League thanks to a 2-0 second-leg victory over Granada.