Nemanja Matic has sent his old club Chelsea and closest top four rivals Leicester City a reminder that Manchester United are still in charge of their Champions League fate.
The Serb played the full 90 minutes behind Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes in a midfield three as United missed the chance to move up to third in the Premier League.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side had overturned Southampton ’s early lead by the 23 rd minute through goals in quick succession from Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial.
But Saints substitute Michael Obafemi scored an injury time winner with one of only a handful of touches in the game which has kept the visitors outside the top four.
Matic insists United cannot afford to let the draw dampen their hopes.
Matic told MUTV: “We have to keep our head up. We have three games to go. The next one is Crystal Palace on Thursday. If we win the last three games, we are in the Champions League.
“We have to stay positive and keep working as we were until now. Everything is in our hands. It’s in our hands – we have to recover as soon as possible.
“We have another game now against a very good team again, so we have to go with everything because we want to play Champions League next season.
United remain locked in a battle against Chelsea and Leicester for a place in next season’s Champion League, with only a point separating the three teams.
After their neighbours Manchester City had their European ban overturned by the courts in Switzerland, reaching the top four is now imperative.
A win against Leicester on the final day of the season would likely be enough for United to qualify – and Matic believes they deserve to be in the running.
Matic said: “I think we deserve that, so I want to say we work positively, recover well and we will see on Thursday if we are ready. I am sure the team is ready.
“Of course, three months ago, it was not in our hands. We needed Chelsea and Leicester to drop points, which they did obviously. Now we are a point behind Chelsea and it’s in our hands.
“We’ll take it game by game. We’ll think about Palace first, then see if we do our job there, like we normally do.”
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