Nemanja Matic is feeling “very confident” ahead of Manchester United’s Carabao Cup derby date with arch-rivals City, with the Serbian midfielder of the opinion that the Red Devils are stronger than they were 12 months ago.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side reached three semi-finals in 2019-20, only to fall at that hurdle on each occasion.
Positive progress is being made in knockout competition once again, with another place in the last four of the League Cup secured this season.
Everton were sent packing at the quarter-final stage on Wednesday, with a late rally from United seeing them to a 2-0 victory at Goodison Park.
The draw has paired them with City once again, who edged them out 3-2 on aggregate over two legs in January 2020, and Matic is feeling optimistic regarding the Red Devils’ chances of exacting revenge.
He told MUTV after helping to down Everton: “This time I hope we will use our chance; we will do our best.
“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.”
United have rediscovered a spark in 2020-21, as they look to force their way into the Premier League title picture, with a midweek victory on Merseyside seeing them preserve a faultless away record in domestic competition.
Edinson Cavani and Anthony Martial got the goals against Everton, with Matic saying of another morale-boosting success: “I’m very happy with our performance.
“I think that 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.
“It was everything about us. 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.”
He added, with United breaking the deadlock in the 88th minute: “Was it frustrating we hadn’t scored before half-time? Yes, especially after the first 10-15 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.”
The Red Devils will be back in action on Boxing Day when they take in a trip to fellow title hopefuls Leicester.