Manchester United had their first off-day of the 2017/18 season against Stoke City, in a game that eventually finished 2-2 and the shares were spoiled. Jose Mourinho’s men only led from a brief time before being pegged back, and we all expected the usual tough test that we get away at the Bet365 Stadium.
After the match, Manchester United’s latest signing Nemanja Matic spoke to the media and gave a brutally honest assessment of the match, suggesting that if the Red Devils want to be champions, they have to win against teams like this.
It was refreshing to listen to him speak so honestly because players are usually intent on going by the book and keeping their cards close to their chests.
“It was a tough game tonight,” he said. “To be honest, it’s always a tough game when you come to this stadium. Stoke are a good team, so it was difficult, but we managed to get a point.”
“If we want to be champions, we have to win games like this because in these games, if you win, you are champion. We have to know against teams like this you have to have a little bit more, you have to be concentrated and of course, we’re not happy with a point.”
“It’s always important if you can come from behind, and I think we showed spirit tonight. We had the lead in the second half but they scored a goal from the corner kick. We didn’t take some chances at the other end, so we could have won the game.”
“It’s always important to be at the top of the table if you can. I’m happy that we are still there, and we’ll continue to work hard to stay there until the end of the season.”
Matic ends by saying that United are still sitting atop of the tree and that’s always nice although it’s very early on in the season. Mourinho is the master at being a frontrunner, and no doubt he’ll be having the players work on what went wrong against Stoke and he’ll be fixing that mistake in training over the next week.
I’ve always said that you learn more in a scenario where you’ve dropped points, and I’d fully back the manager to turn it around and help us to three points next time around when we take on Everton at Old Trafford in gameweek five.