Matic exclusive: The three points are vital for us
Nemanja Matic has acknowledged the threat that Burnley pose, ahead of their visit to Old Trafford in the Premier League on Wednesday.
United defeated Sean Dyche’s side 2-0 at Turf Moor at the end of December and the 31-year-old midfielder fully expects another challenging match, with both sides determined to secure three invaluable points in the Premier League.
“I think we played a good game over there,” the experienced Matic explains in United Review, the official Manchester United matchday programme.
“Everyone knows that they are very dangerous, especially when they play at home, but we prepared for that game in the best way and we took three points, which was the most important thing.
“For sure, we will be focused again, we know they can be dangerous, but we play at our stadium in front of our supporters and we will do our best to get three points.
“Anything less than three points is not good for us, we must win.”
Burnley are currently 14th in the Premier League table, five points clear of the relegation zone, after earning an excellent 2-1 win over Leicester City at home on Sunday.
That was the Clarets' first win in five league games and Sean Dyche believes his side has turned a corner.
Matic expects a physical battle against a side which has recorded the second-highest number of long balls this season, after Sheffield United.
“Physically, they are very good,” says the Serbian, who has featured in each of United’s last seven matches in all competitions and started the recent win at Turf Moor.
“They are a strong team, all big guys, especially on set-pieces where they are very dangerous, and also with long balls and second balls.
“We know all that so we have to be fully focused in every situation and not allow them to have any chances.
“We’re focused on scoring some goals and taking three points, that’s the most important thing.”
Highlights: Burnley 0 United 2Video
Burnley have taken a point from each of their last three visits to Old Trafford, including a 2-2 draw in January 2019.
Matic played in that game - when Paul Pogba and Victor Lindelof scored late on to restore parity - and he sees patience and composure will be key to unlocking an often-resolute Clarets back four.
“It’s important to be patient and move the ball well, and in their half we need to be more clinical in front of goal.
“The manager has prepared us for this game, we know the way he wants us to play and we will follow that.”
This will be the ninth consecutive week in which United have played a midweek fixture, dating back to the end of November.
With the Carabao Cup semi-final second leg against Manchester City on the horizon next Wednesday, in between an Emirates FA Cup fourth-round tie and the visit of Wolves in the Premier League, Matic says the side must stay strong ahead of the winter break.
“In England it’s hard because we play every three days. But that’s why this league has the best players and you have to be ready for that.
“It’s not easy but we need to be mentally strong, prepared, and although this period is busy, at the beginning of February we will have time to rest.”