Wednesday 12 December 2018

Manager makes sure I'll never get comfortable, says Matic

Manchester United's Nemanja Matic Photo: PA
Manchester United's Nemanja Matic Photo: PA

Simon Peach

Nemanja Matic feels at home in Manchester but Jose Mourinho's relentless drive for more means the midfielder will never get too comfortable at United.

After helping Chelsea to win their second Premier League crown in three years, the 29-year-old upped sticks and headed north in the summer to re-join his former manager at Old Trafford.

A trusted figure described by the Portuguese as a "Jose Mourinho player", Matic made light of a disrupted pre-season by hitting the ground running at Old Trafford.

No outfield player has played more league minutes for United this season and the unassuming defensive midfielder relishes the demands put on him by Mourinho. "He always wants the best," said Matic. "He always wants to win. Of course, him as a coach, if you play good he always thinks that you can play better. This is good. He always asks you to do more. I am happy that we work with him and he's a coach who won many, many trophies in his career and for sure we can learn a lot of things form him.

"He won many things. The coach is good if he won the trophies. He won in every country he has been, he has won a lot and that's why they call him special."

Mourinho oversaw Europa League and EFL Cup glory during his first campaign in the United dugout, while his reinforced side are now dreaming of FA Cup and Champions League success.

Matic takes confidence from last weekend's "very important" 2-1 comeback win against Chelsea - efforts against his former side that were rewarded with some downtime ahead of Monday's trip to Crystal Palace.

The defensive midfielder revealed that he had been given a three-day break by holding up a piece of paper in an Instagram post, making reference to the note from Mourinho handed to him on the field last Sunday.

Given the work ethic instilled by Mourinho, it would be a surprise to see Matic falter in the season's run-in.

"We have the Champions League, we have to fight for the quarter-final," he added at the re-opening of the Red Cafe at Old Trafford. "We play Sevilla at home. We respect them a lot, but we are Manchester United, we know what we have to do. We also have the FA Cup, so we will go game by game, step by step and see what we can do."

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