Nemanja Matic believes Sevilla deserved to go through to the Champions League quarter-finals and admitted there was “no excuse” for Manchester United’s shocking display.
Listless, dire and abject all aptly describe the performance produced by Jose Mourinho’s side at a packed Old Trafford on Tuesday.
David De Gea was the hero of a goalless first leg, but it was Sevilla substitute Wissam Ben Yedder making the headlines this time, hitting a quickfire double to render Romelu Lukaku’s late goal pointless as the visitors secured a famous 2-1 win in the last 16.
United’s players were deservedly jeered off the pitch but have no time to wallow in self-pity given Brighton arrive on Saturday in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup – their last chance of silverware this season.
“Of course (it is difficult to take),” defensive midfielder Matic said. “We are not happy because we are out of the Champions League.
“But this is football, we have to accept it and to focus on the next game, which is very important also for us, in the FA Cup.
“We focus also for the league, but we have to say congratulations to the team, Sevilla.
“They played really well, and they deserved to go through.”
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) March 13, 2018
United’s display lacked the attributes that saw them beat bitter rivals Liverpool 2-1 on Saturday.
Mourinho’s men dug deep to edge that Premier League encounter, but Matic refused to use those exertions as a way to explain Tuesday’s lacklustre display against Sevilla.
“There is no excuse,” the defensive midfielder said. “There is no excuse.
“We had a big game, as you know, against Liverpool. We won.
“With high confidence we come to play this game, but today they played better than us and they deserved (to win).”
All eyes will be on Old Trafford on Saturday evening to see how United respond to this embarrassing setback.
Anything but victory against Brighton will send shockwaves around the club and Matic knows they owe supporters a response.
“We have to be focused on that because they’re a good team and we have to win,” the 29-year-old said. “We have to go with everything to try to go through.
“We know that our supporters are sad because of this result. We are also sad, and we have to win to go back to winning ways, so I hope that the team reaction is going to be good.
“We have to forget this. We have to see our mistakes, to see what we have to do better and on Saturday is a new game.
“Life goes on and this is football, we have to accept that.”