Nemanja Matic has revealed that he was playing through the pain barrier for Manchester United last season with an injury.
The Serbian midfielder had surgery during the summer after competing at the FIFA World Cup in Russia with his nation. However, he has told Inside United that it was not due to a knock picked up at the international tournament, but rather an ongoing issue that had caused him trouble throughout the back end of the 2017/18 season.
Matic’s form dropped off slightly at the end of last season, and this may explain why. The 31-year-old has admitted he thought he couldn’t give his very best with the injury and so went for surgery.
”I’d had this injury for a few months and, when I went to America, in the first training session, I didn’t feel well and I asked the doctor to see what he could do,” Matic told Inside United’s October edition.
“I had the operation in Philadelphia as, after the scan, the doctor recommended surgery as the only way to fix the problem. I feel good now.
”I could see I couldn’t give my best because this injury was serious. It was painful so I needed to fix it. Sometimes, you can play through the pain and I played the last few months of the season with the pain but I think, for this season, it was better to fix the problem.
“I didn’t want to spend time during the season fixing it as I need to be ready for the season that we have.”
It was a good decision to get the surgery out of the way, because the injury would have undoubtedly caused issues throughout the season had Matic not sorted it out.
Now he is in United’s first-choice midfield. He’s not a long-term option for the Reds, and being harsh, Jose Mourinho will know that he could have someone better playing alongside Paul Pogba.
However, he is a fine player who does not need replacing immediately. There are far more pressing issues in this United side, and having Matic fit will help paper over them temporarily.