The Red Devils made hard work of it but an outstanding 45 minutes from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men meant all three points would be won. Manchester United fans have identified a top second-half from Nemanja Matic vs Southampton as the turning point.
I think it’s fair to say that Nemanja Matic has offered up a real mixed bag of performances over the last year or so. There has been no in between. The Serb either plays brilliantly or woefully and yesterday’s game epitomised him perfectly.
Let’s be honest, Matic was given the runaround in that first 45 minutes. He was losing the midfield battle with Southampton players pressing him high and affording the ex-Chelsea man no time on the ball whatsoever.
However, the greats of our game can adapt and adjust. 2-0 down at half-time, no problem. Matic would sit deeper, offering himself more space and room to work in. Suddenly, he’d start picking the passes, begin making those forward runs and then every single aspect of his game started to improve.
At that point, the tide started to turn. United started winning the ball higher up the pitch and Matic was instrumental in that regard. He’d end the game with the most ball recoveries, most tackles and most interceptions. Sure, it’s Bruno Fernandes and Edinson Cavani who’ll take all the headlines but the 32-year-old Matic absolutely deserves credit for what he achieved yesterday.
Now, it’s about keeping that ball rolling while carefully managing his minutes. That’s easier said than done given Scott McTominay’s injury but hopefully, the Lancaster-born-midfielder will be back in action soon; allowing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to rotate.
As you’d imagine, United fans took to Twitter in their droves to praise the star who had a much-improved second 45 minutes. It really was an incredible turnaround.