Nemanja Matic enjoying playing alongside Paul Pogba

Nemanja Matic’s Old Trafford debut could only be described with the finest of superlatives, as he won man of the match in a 4-0 win against West Ham. The main topic of discussion after the match highlighted his relationship with Paul Pogba, which Matic himself stated is very good on the pitch.

I think we play together very well. We help each other. I have to say he played good in attack and also helped a lot when we were defending. He always played next to me. We are there on the pitch to fight for each other. We will continue like this and I’m happy to have him in the team.”

Matic’s budding relationship with Pogba is only a positive for the Manchester United faithful, but he has made it clear that the first match of the season is merely one fixture in a season that could include over sixty. The Serbian midfielder made it abundantly clear that Saturday’s game in Wales could be difficult for United against a tough Swansea side, regardless of how well the Red Devils are playing.

“We know this is just the beginning. The season is long and we have a difficult game on Saturday. We have to focus on that. It’s always hard to win at that stadium, they are a good team and we watched some videos of them. They have good players and also a good coach. I expect a hard game for us but we are Manchester and we know what we have to do.”

Finally, and most endearingly, the 29-year-old already proclaimed his appreciation for Manchester United’s fans, constantly supporting the club throughout the match even when he played at Old Trafford for Chelsea. He even went as far as to say that United’s away support are even better than the reception he received at Old Trafford.

“I think Manchester United fans are amazing. I saw Old Trafford and know that they really love the club and support us during 90 minutes. I think away, they’re even better. When I played against Manchester, I could feel they are good and always support so I’m looking forward to that game.”

Mourinho’s subtle implications that Matic forced a move to United, combined with his performances and interviews, paint the picture of a player who is very content to be at Manchester United. However, given these circumstances, United fans should be even more content than the Serbian midfielder.

Not only does his signing weaken Chelsea significantly, as Antonio Conte stated his desire to keep Matic as a first team player at Stamford Bridge, but it also massively strengthens United in midfield. Paul Pogba’s flair can now be accompanied by a steady and experienced head, a player who has won the Premier League and will have ambitions of capturing the Champions League during his time at Old Trafford.

Barring the ridiculous quality he showed against West Ham, United have simply acquired a third midfielder capable of playing at the highest level. Being able to deploy Matic, Pogba, and Ander Herrera on one football pitch will allow the Red Devils to compete in matches against England’s other fine sides, fixtures in which United struggled last season when Michael Carrick wasn’t at his best.

Any duo of Matic, Herrera, and Pogba can dominate most Premier League teams, but being able to play all three ensures that United have the best midfield in England, while laying a platform for other players in the side who are rising, declining, or simply unique to produce their best football for United on a more sporadic basis. Andreas Pereira, Carrick, and Marouane Fellaini, respectively, come to mind.

Nemanja Matic seems to be establishing his name as one of the best midfielders in England all over again, and now that he is on the books, Jose Mourinho can worry less about defensive midfield options and focus on using the correct options to win football matches in the manner he pleases.

Written by Aaron Moniz


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