Nemanja Matic said Manchester United need to remain focused until qualification for the Champions League group stage is absolutely certain after a 2-0 win over Benfica put them on the brink.
Benfica’s teenage goalkeeper Mile Svilar scored an own goal when Matic’s shot hit the post and rebounded on to him before Daley Blind fired in a second-half penalty, leaving United needing just one point from their final two games.
“We have to be focused until the end,” Matic said on BT Sport 3. “We have to fight in the last two games and we will go to win both games. I’m sure the team is ready.”
Romelu Lukaku, whose scoreless streak extended to six games, had wanted to take the penalty won by Marcus Rashford in the 77th minute, but was overruled first by Ander Herrera and then Blind.
“I’m not sure,” Matic said when asked what happened. “I think the manager decided that Daley needed to shoot.”
There was a first Champions League start for 20-year-old Scott McTominay, who has been at United since the age of five.
“Obviously as a young boy, growing up you dream of the Champions League and playing for Manchester United,” he said. “It’s a dream for me and I’m made up we’ve got the three points and the clean sheet.”