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Nemanja Matic was happy to make his debut, will be happier to play against Real Madrid

Manchester United’s new defensive midfielder Nemanja Matic has stated that he feels extremely welcome at the Old Trafford club and has suggested he will get ‘better and better’ as he returns to full match fitness ahead of the new season. Matic made the move from Chelsea to United on Monday after a summer of speculation which also saw the Serbian midfielder linked to other clubs. There were also suggestions that the player would cost United £50 million, ending up costing £35 million with a £5 million add-on clause, which is severely less than the reported amount.

Matic was training alone at Chelsea training ground this summer as his former side left for their pre-season tour of China and Singapore, but despite his lack of fitness, was handed his debut as United beat Sampdoria 2-1 at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Wednesday evening, the last pre-season match of the summer. The Serbian impressed from the off, mixing his composure and tenacity, which puts the club in good stead to face Real Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup on Tuesday, which will be the biggest match of the summer. Speaking to the official Manchester United website, Matic said:

Yes, it was nice. It was nice to play in front of our supporters – I think there was a full stadium of Manchester supporters. That was special for me and I’m happy to make my debut for such a big club like Manchester United.

“It was strange [not playing in pre-season] because the team has played and had a good pre-season but, as you know, I trained alone in London. I tried to give my best to control the game well, to give the balance, and I think, for the first game, it was good for me. Step by step, I think I will get better and better and I hope I will help the team to achieve something this season. 

“I must say thanks to the guys. They’ve helped me to already become part of the team and they are all nice guys. I think the staff have also helped me a lot, and I say thanks to them because they’ve accepted me very well already.

“I have played at a few clubs in my career but the guys are amazing and they are good friends between themselves and I’m happy to see that.”

United will be pitted against La Liga and UEFA Champions League holders Real Madrid in Skopje, Macedonia which will be United first competitive fixture of the new season, five days before welcoming West Ham United to Old Trafford for the first Premier League fixture of the new season in which Jose Mourinho will be looking to start in great fashion ahead of a title challenge in the league this season. Matic, a player desperate to be involved in the match despite his lack of match fitness concluded by saying:

“I will try to be 100 per cent ready. I will try hard , I hope that I will be an option for those games, but we will see. We still have six days but I’m sure that everybody is ready and I will try to be 100 per cent ready, and I hope that we can do something for this club.”

United have been looking good during their pre-season tour of the United States of America, Norway, and Ireland with both Victor Lindelof and Romelu Lukaku performing ahead of the new season. The arrival of Matic seems to have given United something extra in that the reliance on Michael Carrick is not going to be something which exposes the club like it did last season. Matic, despite just turning 29 seems to have everything in the box to make United the team they once were. This coming season is going to be an exciting one.

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