Jose Mourinho confirms just how important Nemanja Matic in Manchester United plans this season


Jose Mourinho has suggested why it was an important factor to bring Nemanja Matic from Chelsea in what could turn into a £40 million fee for the 29-year-old. The Serbian signed for Manchester United almost a fortnight ago and he has seemed to already settle into the team despite playing just one and a half matches, also starting against West Ham United in the Premier League opener for United’s campaign at Old Trafford this afternoon. Matic played 45 minutes in the victory over Sampdoria in Dublin, playing 90 minutes nearly a week later in the UEFA Super Cup defeat to Real Madrid, impressing us all in both appearances.

During his press conference ahead of the West Ham match in the Premier League, Mourinho spoke about why he things Matic was his ideal signing this summer, which seems to be the best acquisition of the summer, in terms of a player who was needed so much last season with the reliance on Michael Carrick, the departure of both Morgan Schneiderlin and Bastian Schweinsteiger, leaving United short on defensive minded midfielders with Ander Herrera playing in the role at times. Mourinho, speaking to the official Manchester United website, said:

“When I joined Manchester United last year, I thought immediately that we needed a kind of Matic. There are not many – there are just a couple – but I thought that.

“But I was not thinking of it because I always thought I never like to go to players that I think are an impossible mission, and I felt there was no chance.

“Then this season, when I got the call that Matic wants to play for me and for Manchester United, and he can make it happen, I thought he’s the perfect player for me. Not just for his qualities but also for my relationship with him, the way I know him, the way he knows me.”

Matic has played under Mourinho before and was trusted in Mourinho’s last Premier League win, just six months or so before he was sacked by the club after their poor start in the 2015/16 season. Matic has shown his trust in the manager, showing how settled he has become at the Theatre of Dreams, also showing signs of his teammates in the midfield, Herrera and Paul Pogba starting to get used to him being on the side, which could bring out the best in the pair. Mourinho, concluding his Matic comments, spoke about the qualities the Serbian has brought into his squad as another Premier League experienced player with the club looking to challenge and even win the title this season. Mourinho said:

“I think he’s one of these players where there are no question marks in front. He doesn’t need time to adapt, he’s not a young guy who came from another country, he’s not somebody that needs to learn the Premier League.

“He’s a player of, I think, now 29 last week – 29 years old, with five years or so in the Premier League, lots of experience. He’s one of these players that gives me what I like in players, which is consistency.

“Matic plays normally here [gestures to a height with hand], and sometimes a little bit here [adjusts hand slightly] and sometimes a little bit there [lowers hand slightly] but Matic is Matic.

“And that’s something I really like in players – consistency. It’s the way I trust the player is going to perform, so I think it was a fantastic signing for us.”

United start their season against West Ham United at the Theatre of Dreams today. Matic is starting and will form a midfield partnership with Pogba in what looks like a 4-2-3-1 formation. United, if they want to turn Old Trafford back into a fortress, will need to send the Hammers packing back to London this evening, then set their sights on Swansea City next weekend in a bid to start their new Premier League campaign in good stead.

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