Ole Gunnar Solskjaer a 'much better manager than one year ago', says Nemanja Matic

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Nemanja Matic believes Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is a 'much better manager than one year ago'

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is a "much better manager than one year ago", according to Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic.

Solskjaer replaced Jose Mourinho as United boss in December 2018 and won 14 of his 19 matches in interim charge before being appointed permanently in March last year, but his fortunes changed dramatically towards the end of last season.

United finished sixth - 32 points behind champions Manchester City - and the start to this campaign was their worst in 30 years.

However, they are now enjoying their best period under Solskjaer since he took the job on a full-time basis, with five wins and six clean sheets from their previous seven games in all competitions.

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Manchester United's ultimate aim is a return to the Champions League

Asked if the Norwegian has grown as a manager, Matic said: "Of course, every day he is improving for sure. He is getting more experience and he will get better and better.

"Like every manager, for example Carlo Ancelotti, now and 20 years ago he is not the same. He knows more, he gets more experience, so it will be the same with Ole.

"He is a much better manager than one year ago in my opinion because now he knows all the players, he knows exactly what he needs to do before the games, so I think for his job the experience is very important."

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'Man Utd have enough quality for top four'

United are still competing in both the Europa League and FA Cup, as well as fighting to qualify for next season's Champions League.

They trail fourth-placed Chelsea by three points and although they could qualify by finishing fifth due to Manchester City's two-year ban from European competition, Matic insists they must remain focused on themselves.

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"Top four is still the aim for us because we still don't know what's going to happen with Manchester City," he added. "We're going to play to finish in the top four and this is our target at the moment.

"I think we have enough quality to finish in the top four. We just need to continue to play like we've played the last five or six games.

"Even the games where we didn't play well we won and we have to keep that going because you don't need to always play great to win. I'm confident and I think the guys are also confident that we can finish in the top four."

Nemanja Matic celebrates with team-mates after scoring during the Carabao Cup, Semi-Final match between Manchester City and Manchester United at Etihad Stadium on January 29, 2020
Image: Matic has made 20 appearances for United in all competitions this season

Matic: Ancelotti 'one of the best'

Following a 5-0 thrashing of Club Brugge in the Europa League on Thursday, United return to Premier League action with a trip to Goodison Park to face Everton on Sunday, live on Sky Sports.

Everton have improved dramatically since the appointment of Carlo Ancelotti in December - losing just twice in the league - and Matic is not surprised his former boss is impressing on Merseyside.

"When I signed the first time for Chelsea in 2009 he was my manager. He's a great, great coach, with great character," Matic said.

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"He's one of the best in football history. He has won many trophies so it's going to be nice to see him again.

"I spoke about him when he signed for Everton. I said that he will improve the team and that's exactly what he's doing. His teams are always playing well.

"He's a manager with big experience, in every situation he knows exactly what he needs to do and I think he will do big things with Everton, so I wish him all the best - but not on the weekend!"

Watch Everton vs Manchester United on Super Sunday from 1pm on Sky Sports Premier League; kick-off is at 2pm.

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