Nemanja Matic believes the coming weeks will be decisive in the Premier League title race as Manchester United try to close the gap with leaders Manchester City.
After a league win in five, United moved back to second place, beating Newcastle 3-1 on Sunday, but are 10 points behind City with 13 games of the season to go.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side hosted Real Sociedad in the second leg of their Europa League second leg on Thursday before returning to the league with three away appearances in a week.
A trip to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea on Sunday is the first, followed by Crystal Palace next Wednesday and the Manchester derby on March 7, all available to watch live on Sky Sports.
“Every game is a final now,” United midfielder Matic said. Sky Sports News.
“We dropped some points where we should win, so you go into the big games with more pressure and then you have to win.
“I think the next few weeks are going to be decisive in the title race. Either we’ll be there in the fight or it’s going to be tough because if we lose points in the next few games then it’s going to be tough to catch Man. City.
“But that’s why we’re here. We’re positive, we’re going to do our best to win. The next game is the most important and then we’ll focus on Man City.”
“ Not easy to play for Chelsea ”
Matic will return to familiar territory this weekend when United visit Stamford Bridge. The 32-year-old played 154 times for Chelsea before moving to Old Trafford in 2017 and insists his former club cannot be taken lightly.
“I think they play good football and have a good team,” added Matic. “Also with Frank [Lampard] they played amazing football in some games, but they have a young team and it is normal for the team to have ups and downs sometimes.
“We respect them a lot. I know the Chelsea mentality. I know they always want the best and it’s not easy to play there with that pressure, especially for young players, so I respect their team.
“I watch them when I have the time and they improve and they will be very dangerous in the next few years because they have amazing young players so it’s going to be a tough game against them for sure.
“We have to do our best and we have to be at our best if we are to win this game and the championship.”