Jose “the special one” Mourinho has got his man, reuniting himself with Nemanja Matic for a second time after signing him from Benfica to Chelsea in the 2013/2014 season, and now signing him for Manchester United as his Defensive midfield focal point to add additional backbone to the Red Devils midfield.
Additionally, today is also Nemanja Matic’s birthday, turning 29-Years-old and it’s quite a good birthday present to be joining Manchester United with Jose Mourinho at the helm. So, “Happy Birthday to you” from all of us here at Brainstain. The signing presents itself as a clever piece of business, as the Serbian international has three Premier League titles to his name, and is also seen as the long-term replacement for Michael Carrick, who is most likely in his last season at age 36. However, Matic stands even taller than Carrick at 6ft 4 inches and is an intimidating holding midfield player, with great passing ability, tackling prowess and a rocket shot on him, even though, he doesn’t score many. But, let’s see that famous screamer now against Tottenham in the Semi-Final of the FA Cup, shall we?
Absolute corker! Antonio Conte at Chelsea let Nemanja Matic leave after investing in 22-year-old Tineoue Bakayoko from AS Monaco for £35 million, paving the way for the sale of Matic for £40 million to the Red Devils, commanding a higher fee than expected after some suspected sour grapes from Antonio Conte after losing out on Romelu Lukaku, but all in all, it looks like Jose Mourinho won in the transfer market in landing Matic and Lukaku, as opposed to Bakayoko and Alvaro Morata, but only time will tell of who will be the most effective once the Premier League commences again on August 12th, 2017. It’s very much expected that both Chelsea and Manchester United will be making a serious title challenge in the coming season.
Nemanja Matic spoke and gave an exclusive interview to MUTV regarding his arrival at Old Trafford and of Manchester United’s title aspirations, so let’s have a read, shall we?
“I feel great. Manchester United is one of the biggest clubs in the world and I’m very happy. I’m now part of this great club and great group. I’m looking forward to training with the team and playing the games. As you know, Manchester United is one of the biggest clubs in the world. My wish was to train with Jose and of course if you have a coach like him, and a club like Manchester, you don’t have to think a lot. The decision was easy. I’m happy that we can work together again. He’s a great coach, and he always does the best for me. I’m happy to be again with him at this great club.”
Now, we will pitch in with some commentary here, as it’s interesting to see whether it will be Paul Pogba and Nemanja Matic as we would expect in the middle of the park, providing that cover for Pogba to go forwards when necessary, and where this will leave Ander Herrera, or whether all three can play, putting Herrera on the right side of a tightly knit diamond formation, perhaps? Either way, it’s clear that Matic’s arrival will provide great strength in depth, across the whole midfield unit.
Matic continued, “When the coach was due to come to the club, this gives you more motivation, more possibility, and I will give my best to show that I deserve to be at this club and be part of this group. It’s very important to come to a new club as soon as possible, to have time to adapt on your coaches wishes and on your team-mates and I’m happy I’ll have some days to train with them before the first game against Real Madrid. I’m sure that this season we can do big things.”
So, there’ll be a settling in period, but Matic has joined early enough to solidify himself into the side before Manchester United’s Sunday Premier League kick-off against West Ham on August the 13th, with two matches against Sampdoria and the UEFA Super Cup final, which is being played in the Phillip II Arena in Macedonia of all places on Tuesday the 8th of August.
Matic spoke about final days at Chelsea, “As you know, probably, I didn’t train with the Chelsea team, I trained alone with a fitness coach and of course this is not the same, but I have enough time to prepare myself. I’m not 100 per cent ready but I will be very soon. I know the two new signings. With Victor, we were together at Benfica. Lukaku, I didn’t play with him at Chelsea, but I know him because we played together many times. Both of them are great players who will help Manchester to reach our targets.”
On the title challenge, Matic said, “I think so, because the squad is more mature and have already worked with Jose for one year. I’m sure this season we can do many things. It’s difficult to say (what my greatest qualities are). I’ll let the supporters talk about me. I will always give my best, but I will let supporters talk about my qualities. In the defensive midfield position, the player needs to give balance to the team and try to control the game. That’s exactly what I try to do.”
And, that’s exactly what Matic does, he controls the play, he balances the centre of the park, distributes passes and if and when somebody thinks they can just come parading past Matic, they’ll have his 6 foot 4 inch frame to contend with, an intimidating prospect indeed.
Matic clarified, “I can’t say it’s more important than any other position, but you have to know every time where is the ball and when you attack, you need to know how to stop the opponents from launching a counter-attack. [Nemanja] Vidic as you know was a great player, and was one of the players who I looked to be similar to because he had a great career. He was the leader of our national team. It’s great to be in the same club as him, and I will try to do my best to repeat what he achieved here. It’s going to be something special playing at Old Trafford. I’m looking forward to doing that. I feel we can do many things, and we’ll try to win the Premier League.”
Let’s not forget that Manchester United are also in the Champions League after winning the Europa League last season, much due to the help of Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s great form, until his knee injury, sidelining him until further notice, but let’s hope that Jose Mourinho is true to his word and brings Zlatan back in, once he’s available again, since the Swede is by no means done.
Matic spoke about the Champions League, “Also, anything is possible in the Champions League. United are one of the best in Europe, for sure. It’s difficult to make a plan before the season starts but we will try to win every game. I missed the Champions League last year, so this competition is something special, with the best clubs in Europe, so we’re all happy that we can play in this competition again and compare ourselves with the best teams in Europe. I know a couple of players here, especially [Juan] Mata because he played with me. I saw him this morning, but most of the guys I’ve played against. I think adaptation will be quick.”
On August 8th, Real Madrid, the Champions League winners square up against Manchester United, the Europa League winners and Nemanja Matic said, “It’s going to be a great game against Real Madrid [in the Super Cup]. It’s two big clubs so it’ll be interesting game. The whole world is going to watch that. I’m happy we can compare our qualities with them, It’s going to be a hard game but I’m sure that we’re going to be ready.”
Imagine, who will win the coveted prize of the Super Cup? A trophy which determines who is the supreme side in Europe, so mark your calendars for that one.
Matic wrapped up his interview with MUTV, by stating, “We will give our best to win the league this season. We will give 100 per cent.”
So, there you have it! No doubt, Manchester United will be challenging on all fronts this season, in a campaign where Jose Mourinho’s side starts to take shape, the way he wanted it. There’s a revolution at Manchester United, thanks to Ed Woodward and Jose Mourinho.
Brainstain, over and out!
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Featured Photo Credit: YouTube