Nemanja Matic has vowed Manchester United cannot present youth as an excuse if they fail to challenge for next season’s Premier League title.
The Serbian midfielder twice won the English league title while at Chelsea, and he joined United in 2017 with the aim of chasing more silverware.
Yet in three years at Old Trafford, Matic, who turned 32 on Saturday, has yet to capture a trophy with United.
United remain in the hunt to win the Europa League later this month, but the Premier League is their prime target, particularly given it is neighbours Manchester City and fierce rivals Liverpool who have been setting the highest standards.
The Red Devils finished the 2019-20 domestic season strongly under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, with young players such as Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford and Aaron Wan-Bissaka prominent.
But United’s squad is chock-full of experience too, so in Matic’s eyes there is no reason for them not to battle for top honours.
He told Inside United, the club’s official magazine: “I would like to win the Premier League with Manchester United. I think that our club always needs to fight for the title.
“We always need to try to do the best for this club, which we are doing at the moment, and I think we cannot allow any club to win the league seven or 10 games before the season finishes. So we have to fight until the end.”
As if we needed an excuse to show this again
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) August 1, 2020
Liverpool had seven games to spare when they clinched the Premier League title in June, and United ended the season 33 points adrift of their perennial foes, despite going 14 matches unbeaten in the competition at the end of the campaign.
“Of course, we have a young team, but this cannot be an excuse,” Matic said. “I think these young players already have a few seasons behind them playing.
“So, from the next season, we have to fight for the title. I don’t know if we’re going to win [the title] but I’m sure that we can fight until the end.
“That’s my personal target and I think the rest of my team-mates think the same.”