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Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Juan Mata and Nemanja Matic are having a huge impact on the team, despite their marginal roles.
United They have forged a nine-game unbeaten streak in the Premier League dating back to early November. In fact, they have won seven of those games and their accumulation of points has seen them rise to the table.
The Red Devils now sit three points behind the leaders Liverpool with a game in hand about the champions. As such, there has been talk of a mindset shift following the previous pressure surrounding the club.
United can stretch their undefeated streak to double digits against Aston Villa on New Year’s Day. Before the clash at Old Trafford, Solskjaer faced questions from the media about the reasons for his players’ shapeshifting.
“One, they are two years older than when I came. Two, some of them are really strong personalities that we’ve brought in and they’ve been a really good influence. ” manager told reporters (via objective).
“We have competition for places, which means you can’t walk around and think you can pretend to be part of this team. You only deserve to be on a team that you contribute to.
“I think everyone has realized that they have the privilege of being a part of Man Utd, such a fantastic club with a fantastic history.”
Solskjaer went on to name some of the players who have proven to be a crucial part of his club’s form. But while Bruno fernandes has played an obvious role, the manager named Mata and Matic as excellent influences.
Mata has only made nine appearances this season, with his fellow midfielder making 14 starts.
“When you are here, enjoy it as much as you can and maybe you will experience some fantastic moments,” he added.
“You have winners like Juan Mata and Nemanja Matic.
“They don’t play every game, but they are very influential in the group and in the preparation of the games and during the games when they are not playing.”
Sunshine is wary of the grealish threat
In another part of his pre-match press conference, Solskjaer spoke about the Villa captain Jack grealishthe threat.
The English international scored an excellent goal at Old Trafford last season in a 2-2 draw.
“He’s an Aston Villa and England player and he’s only gotten better,” Solskjaer said (via Man Utd.com).
“I don’t want to say much about the players of other teams but, of course, he is a player that we know we have to watch out for.
“The goal he scored last season was a brilliant goal and we have faced him enough times to know that it is going to be a difficult game.”
United’s previous game saw them beat the Wolves 1-0 thanks to a late goal from Marcus Rashford.