SELHURST PARK, London — Manchester United’s dramatic comeback against Crystal Palace has set them up perfectly for Liverpool’s visit to Old Trafford this weekend, according to Nemanja Matic.
The midfielder’s stunning strike in stoppage time at Selhurst Park earned Jose Mourinho’s side all three points despite falling 2-0 behind early in the second-half. It also moved United back above Liverpool in the Premier League table ahead of their meeting on Saturday.
“It’s going to give us a lot of confidence because when you win the game it’s always easier to go in to the next one,” Matic told Sky Sports.
“It’s always important to win, especially when you have derby games coming up. I’m happy that we go in to the Liverpool game with these three points.”
Victory over relegation-threatened Palace helped United build on the 2-1 win over Chelsea last weekend.
And Matic insists the clash with Liverpool represents another chance to show they can challenge champions-elect Manchester City for next season’s title.
“I think we are improving, we need to do more for sure because in small games we drop some very important points and you can’t lose these types of points,” he added.
“If you look at Leicester away when we concede in the last second and we lost to Huddersfield away and in these type of games if we manage to win we can compete for the title of course.
“The quality is there for sure but we have to be honest we have to do more because in this league every team is very strong. Five or six teams can realistically compete for the title.
“I hope that next season and the end of this season we will learn from our mistakes and do better but I think we are in a good way.”
Matic picked the perfect time to score his first United goal after Chris Smalling and Romelu Lukaku had dragged United back from two goals down.
His strike from 30 yards in the 91st minute helped end a run of two consecutive Premier League defeats away from home.
“It was a nice goal,” he said. “When I received the ball and it bounced I knew it was going to be a good shot but I didn’t know it would be a goal.
“I’m happy to score my first goal, I know it’s not my job but I’m happy to score and happy that we won the three points.
“I just tried to shoot and in this moment you don’t have time to think a lot so in my mind it was only to shoot and to score and I’m happy it went in.”
Rob is ESPN FC’s Manchester United correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @RobDawsonESPN.