Jose Mourinho: Nemanja Matic told me he wanted to play for Manchester United in March 2017

by Leo Nieboer

Jose Mourinho has revealed how Nemanja Matic outlined his desire to play under him at Manchester United back in March 2017.

The Serbian, signed by Mourinho at Chelsea back in January 2014, reunited with the 55-year-old ahead of the 2017/18 campaign.

And he has been an indispensable, immovable presence at the base of midfield, making 47 appearances in total and only suffering a handful of below par games since arriving in August 2017.

Speaking at the ‘Player of the Year’ awards, Mourinho noted how Matic already had his eyes set on playing for Man United when he was on the cusp of winning the Premier League at Chelsea.

“I was doubting between him and Matic,” he said. “Because Matic last March 2017, he told me, ‘I want to play for you, I want to play for Manchester United and I’m going to do it and he make it happen.”

“His season has been very consistent, very important for the balance of the team, playing every match and I was going for him. But then I understood that for two awards for young players and Scott was not getting one, I decide to change because is unacceptable.”

Most players this season have frittered in and out of form, in and out of the team, sometimes looking crucial and sometimes nowhere to be seen.

Matic, on the other hand, has been a ballast, calmly and assuredly sailing through the storm of a nine month season in a sagely manner, allowing the wind and rain and hail to hit him and simply carrying on, metronomically keeping things ticking at the base of midfield, virtually unnoticed.

From the UEFA Super Cup against Real Madrid to last weekend’s deflating 2-1 win over Arsenal, he was there, diligently doing his job. The consistency with which he has performed this season – his only black spot being a slight dip in the middle – naturally gets ignored, but United’s relative consistency in the Premier League wouldn’t have been possible without it.

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