Nemanja Matic scored in last year’s EFL Cup semi-final against Manchester City and is confident of success this time round.
Manchester United are better placed to defeat Manchester City in the EFL Cup semi-finals this year than they were last, according to Nemanja Matic.
Matic played the full game as late strikes from Edinson Cavani and Anthony Martial gave United a 2-0 away win over Everton in Wednesday’s quarter-final.
The draw immediately after the tie pitted them against rivals City once more, while Championship side Brentford will face Tottenham in the other last-four contest.
City defeated United 3-2 on aggregate in last season’s semi-finals despite a goal from Matic, with Pep Guardiola’s team going on to win the competition for a third straight year.
In a one-off tie this year, Matic is optimistic there will be a different outcome.
“This time I hope we will use our chance; we will do our best,” Matic said to MUTV.
“I think that we are now in a better condition, a better moment.
“We play better football than last year, in my opinion. I’m very confident.”
This is the 16th time United have reached the last four, second only to Liverpool (17) in the competition’s history.
United, who have won all nine of their domestic away matches so far in 2020-21 and 14 in a row dating back to last season, made a fast start at Goodison Park.
They remained on top in the second half – when Everton failed to register a single shot on target – but it was not until a wonderful strike from Cavani two minutes from time that they finally moved ahead.
Matic had the most pass attempts (103) and successful passes (93) on the pitch, while also having the most passes in the opposition half (52) and best success rate in that category among the 22 starters (88.5 per cent).
But he felt there were so many good performers on the night.
Alongside Matic in midfield, Paul Pogba continued his United revival by creating three chances, tied for a game high with team-mate Alex Telles.
Matic added: “Was it frustrating we hadn’t scored before half-time? Yes, especially after the first 10 to 15 minutes. We had a lot of chances.
“We hit the post, some the keeper saved, but that’s football. Sometimes you score, sometimes not, but the most important thing was that we kept that level of football for 90 minutes.
“We controlled the game and, at the end, the most important thing is [that we are in the] semi-finals.
“Everyone did a great job. I’m happy with everyone who played. Let’s keep this momentum and this level of football.
“I think everyone who supports Manchester United is happy, because to come here to Goodison Park, it’s not easy to control 90 minutes, and I think we did it.
“We didn’t allow them to create a lot of chances. So I think that we absolutely deserve to be in the semi-finals, and with some fantastic football also.
“We scored two goals, we created a lot of chances. I’m happy with everything that we saw in our team.”