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Matic: Man Utd youngsters must concentrate more in ‘small games’

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Nemanja Matic has told Manchester United’s young players to improve their concentration levels in Premier League matches against low-profile opposition.

United have thrived in high-pressure fixtures, beating old boss Jose Mourinho’s new Tottenham side and following that win with victory in a local derby away to Manchester City this month.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, who have been without senior players including Matic, Eric Bailly, Luke Shaw, Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba for much of the 2019-20 season, have been found wanting in matches against teams further down the table.

United have failed to beat Bournemouth, Sheffield United, Aston Villa and Everton in their past seven league games, having previous lost away matches to Newcastle United and West Ham and a home fixture with Crystal Palace.

Matic, fit again after two months out with an injury sustained on international duty with Serbia, feels consistency is key if United are to push on from sixth in the table.

“It’s difficult to explain, but I think that we have a very young team,” the 31-year-old told Omnisport when asked why United appear to be more impressive against better sides.

“When we play big games against big players, big teams – when I say big teams, I mean teams at the top of the league like Liverpool, Chelsea, City, Tottenham – then I think these young players have more concentration.

“I think they give more on the pitch and, in small games, that’s not the case in my opinion.

“If we manage to keep the same concentration in big games and also in small games then we can be more consistent and win more games.

“As you know we are fifth, sixth in the table and I’m sure that this team can do more.”

United are away to bottom side Watford on Sunday, seeking to extend a run of six games without defeat in the Premier League.