Football

Jose Mourinho Pinpoints The Moment Nemanja Matic Became One Of "His Guys"

Jose Mourinho Pinpoints The Moment Nemanja Matic Became One Of "His Guys"

When it emerged that Manchester United were in talks to sign Nemanja Matic from Chelsea, heads were turned not only because this was a high-profile signing between two title rivals, but because the rangy Serbian was perceived to be one of those who conspired against Jose Mourinho after his sacking at the London club.

Questions were asked, but if United wanted to sign Matic and the player wanted to come, clearly there was no issue, much like when a big deal was made about the reunion between Mourinho and Juan Mata the summer before.

The reason some thought it strange that Jose and Matic would work together again is down to what looked like a conflict between the two, weeks before the Portuguese was sacked at Stamford Bridge. In a match Chelsea ended up losing to Southampton, Matic was introduced as a second-half substitute only to be withdrawn 28 minutes later, an embarrassing thing for a top pro to go through.

Matic later spoke out in the press that he was proud of himself for not reacting and remaining professional, but now Jose Mourinho has commented on the situation that took place two years ago while discussing his latest signings in an interview in The Sunday Times with Duncan Castles.

Not only was Mourinho impressed with Matic's reaction to a difficult situation, but he then knew he could trust the player, and described him as one of "his guys".

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Matic, I cannot say that I have had better guys in my team than him in my career. And he has with me something that marks forever, which was a match where I play him minute 45 and I took him off minute 70/75.

The press wants a story, the press wants blood. My blood, his blood, or both. He was really sad, I was also sad because it's not something nice and it's something that I only did twice in my career.

But the next day he comes to me and says, 'I'm not happy, but it's my fault. I'm not happy with what you did to me, but it's my fault, because the way I was playing I can understand the change. So let's keep going.'

We didn't keep going for a long time because a few weeks later I was sacked. But again, he was one of 'my guys', was one of the guys that we kept close during these years even not working together.

So I know that the big man is there, even with more maturity.

Another one of Mourinho's guys, he revealed, was Romelu Lukaku, who he always had a good relationship with and kept in touch even after they were not longer working together, which once again goes to show how little we all know about players and their relationships with managers, as the Belgian, like Mata, was someone many thought would not want to work with Jose.

It seems incredible now that there was grumbling from some sections of Man Utd fans when the Matic rumours first emerged. The fact that he is 29 was a problem, but experienced players are extremely hard to come by and the Matic has shown exactly why for the way he has seamlessly slotted into the midfield and improved the team.

You can read Duncan Castles' interview with Mourinho in full over on TheTimes.co.uk.

Mikey Traynor

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