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Name Nemanja Matic
Gender Male
Ethnic Serbian
Job Serbian Footballer
Desc Matic was virtually ever-present when Chelsea won the league under Mourinho in 2015 and again when they triumphed under Antonio Conte two years later. He joined Manchester United in the summer of 2017 and remains at Old Trafford today

Affiliation

Org Serbia National Team
Club as Player Manchester United
  Chelsea FC
  xxxx

2017 07 31 Retrieve

[New Manchester United signing Nemanja Matic is eager to live up to the success enjoyed by compatriot Nemanja Vidic at Old Trafford] Vidic was a great player, he was one of the players I looked to be similar to because he had a great career. He was the leader of our national team and it’s great to be at the same club, like him. I’ll try to do my best to repeat what he did. I know it’s going to be hard but I don’t want him to tell me one day ‘what are you doing there?’.

[Matic admits he is proud to have been signed for a second time in his career by Jose Mourinho] I feel great. Manchester is one of the biggest clubs in the world and I’m very happy because I’m now part of this great club, this great group. My wish was to train with Jose and of course when you have a coach like him and a club like Manchester, you don’t need to think a lot. My decision was very easy. He’s a great coach. When I worked with him before, he always took the best from me and I improved a lot with him.

When the coach wants you to come to the club, it gives you more motivation, more possibility and I will for sure give my best to show that I deserve to be at this club and part of the group. It’s very important to come as soon as possible, to have time to adapt to the coach’s wishes and new team-mates and I’m happy I’ll have some days to train with them before the first big game, against Real Madrid. It will be a great game. It’s going to be interesting, I think all [of] the world will be watching. They are Champions League winners and it’s going to be a hard game but I’m sure we’ll be ready. I’m sure that this season we can do big things

2019 07 27 Retrieve

[Nemanja Matic believes a lack of experience stands in the way of Manchester United challenging for the title] Quality and experience brings you the title. In this squad we have quality and no experience. We have five or six top players, but they are still young like Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial. They have shown their quality on the pitch but they are too young to lead the team of course. Mason Greenwood, great potential. United have a project and know what they want with players of the future. But you need to give them time because, at 17, you cannot play the same like you are 26 or 27. Football always wants results but the fans need to be patient so they can improve. In the future I am sure these players will take United back where they belong

[Legendary club captain Bryan Robson believes Matic could do the job and the player is flattered by the icon’s praise] It’s always great to hear when someone like Mr. Robson says good things. It means something to me. Of course I am one of the most experienced players in the team and I will try to lead them the best way I can. As for the future, maybe, who knows? The manager has to make the decision about the captain. Whatever he decides, we’ll be happy, of course. The captaincy is important but, if we play good football and fight for each other, that is the most important

2019 08 05 Retrieve

[Nemanja Matic believes he will line up alongside Paul Pogba in the Manchester United midfield this season ] Of course, he’s a great player and very important to the team. We will see what’s going to happen. He is a Manchester United player and of course we will be happy if he stays. I don’t see that he’s going to leave but in football everything is possible

[Matic doesn’t think United need to dip back into the transfer market this summer, as the players at the club are ready to perform] The players who are in the changing room, we are ready to play. I don’t know if the club will sign someone before the transfer deadline or not. I think the guys are happy in the changing room and of course every good player is welcome but I don’t know what ideas the club has. The players in the changing room have the quality to play for Man United and they will show that on the pitch

[Matic and United open the season against his former club Chelsea, who are managed by Frank Lampard, who played alongside the Serb at Stamford Bridge] They have a lot of good players so it’s not going to be easy. It’s not going to be easy for them either because we are a very good team. For sure it’s going to be very interesting. Lampard’s a great guy and he was a great player of course. He was always very professional and I wish him luck, but not in his first game!

2019 09 04 Retrieve

[Nemanja Matic has said that he has no problem with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer] I work as hard as I can, we respect the decision, it is up to me to show him that he was wrong and to bring me back to where I belong. There is no problem. I told him I disagreed with him, but that he had to decide the team

I have been in football for a long time, I have played almost all the games for all the clubs in the last 10 years. In order for me to play, one had to sit on the bench and accept that fact, and so do I now. The coach must opt for the team that will fight for the title, and if he does not win, he bears the responsibility

[There will also be a new head coach on the sidelines after Ljubisa Tumbakovic replaced Mladen Krstajic, who was sacked after June’s 4-1 rout of Lithuania following their 5-0 humiliation against Ukraine] We see every success as euphoric, and every failure as a tragedy. We have such a mentality, temperament, it’s hard to change that. But now let’s go to the European Championships. It would be very important for our football, we haven’t been there for a long time. Finally, we connect two major competitions

2019 09 15 Retrieve

[Nemanja Matic has said it’s a positive that Manchester United are blooding so many youngsters, despite it limiting his own playing time] I don’t believe in age, good players or bad players. It doesn’t matter if you are 18 or 35, so I think who played today deserved to play. I am happy for the young players, they get the opportunity to play here. It’s not always the case in big clubs, and Manchester United is giving opportunities to the guys who grew up here in the academy. That’s good because in big clubs they don’t always get opportunities because of the pressure and the results and because everyone wants to win. I think in this season the people from the club they can see who is ready to play already in a high level.

[Despite his limited opportunities he still thinks he has a lot to offer the club going forward] Of course, I want to play. I always give my best for the team. The coach is the man who picks the team and when you are on the bench you are not happy, but I am doing my best to change his mind and persuade him to put me on the pitch. The season is long, today as you saw I played and we won the game, I am happy so we will see in the future what the coach decides. I am ready. In the last ten years I have played in a high level and I have tried my best to help the team because I think I am a team player and I can help a lot I think

2019 09 19 Retrieve

[Midfielder Nemanja Matic acknowledged the difficulty of the game against Astana but likewise hailed the contributions made by younger squad members] It was a hard game. It’s very important to start with three points and we are happy because of that. It’s good for [young players] to have this opportunity to play these games. They have to use that to work hard to get more chances during the season. I’m happy for them. It’s great as it gives young guys a chance to improve. They can only improve if they play games. They are young. They want to prove that they deserve to wear the shirt. The time has come for them. They are the future of the club. I wish them all the best

2019 12 19 Retrieve

[Matic happy to ‘do my job’ amid Man Utd exit talk] Of course, when I’m on the field I always try to do my best, I always try to help the team. When I’m on the pitch, I’m happy and I will continue to do my job. We have to be more consistent in our games, but this is normal for a young team without experience. This is normal and I’m sure those young guys in our changing room - they are the future of Manchester United

[After seeing Solskjaer’s side net three times in the second half to see off League Two underdogs Colchester] I think we played well most of the game. First half, we had complete control, we played round their box and we had chances to score. We scored the three goals in the second half. They made one great counterattack and, after that, we scored in the next action. I’m happy we’re in the semi-final. Hopefully we can make a good game in the semi-final and go to the final, of course

2019 12 20 Retrieve

[Matic admits to being uncertain over Man Utd future] To be honest, I don’t know yet what I’m going to do. I spoke with the club, I said that until my last day at the club I will do my best and be professional. In football, you never know what’s going to happen. My family is happy here, I’m happy, so we will see what the next step is, if I will leave or stay, but whatever we decide I’m sure that we will decide for the best

[Conte clearly left an impression on Matic, who was effusive in his praise of the ex-Italy head coach] Antonio Conte is crazy about football. I think in 24 hours he thinks about football. He works a lot, he analyses the opponents very well, also his team. Tactically, he is one of the best coaches in the world for sure. Physically, his teams are ready to run 95 minutes at the same level. [He is a] Very professional coach and for sure one of the best in the world. I am sure that he will make big things at Inter because with his work he will make it and he deserves it

2019 12 20b Retrieve

[Nemanja Matic has told Manchester United’s young players to improve their concentration levels in Premier League matches against low-profile opposition] It’s difficult to explain, but I think that we have a very young team. When we play big games against big players, big teams – when I say big teams, I mean teams at the top of the league like Liverpool, Chelsea, City, Tottenham – then I think these young players have more concentration. I think they give more on the pitch and, in small games, that’s not the case in my opinion. If we manage to keep the same concentration in big games and also in small games then we can be more consistent and win more games. As you know we are fifth, sixth in the table and I’m sure that this team can do more

2019 12 23 Retrieve

[Nemanja Matic says Rashford can be one of the best] Marcus has great potential. He’s a great guy also off the pitch, but I think he hasn’t used all his qualities yet. He needs to mature more and I can say every year, every month, he’s getting better and better. I think in the future, in the next two or three years, he will show what he can really achieve because he can do much, much more in my opinion. But he’s still young. We can’t expect him to play 40 games at the same level because he’s still young, still learning, he’s still developing his body, his mentality. He can be one of the best strikers in the world, for sure

[Matic thinks the playing field has mostly levelled in England’s top flight, though, given the amount of funds at the disposal of the clubs] I think every year the Premier League improves. Top-six teams have always been top six and they always play good football. They always had the best players but, over the last 10 years in the Premier League, I think the small clubs have improved a lot. They’ve started to invest more. Even the clubs who fight to stay in the league, they can buy players for 30, 40million. I think the standards in the Premier League are higher and that’s why the big teams find it very hard now to win. I think this is good for football, good for the Premier League and I think in the future it will be even harder for the top teams

[Former United stars have been quick to criticise the current team when on duty as television pundits] I think it’s their job if they go on television, it’s their job to say something. Sometimes they say the truth, probably; sometimes they criticise the younger players, which isn’t good, in my opinion, especially if you’re an ex-player of Manchester United and you criticise the players and you know you’ve been there 10, 15, 20 years ago. You have to help the players if you can. But they probably get money to work there and they have to say something. To be honest, I don’t watch that much, when I see some clips or something, yeah, but I know what my job is and for me, the most important opinion is my coach, my club. If they’re happy with my work, that’s it.

[Matic has watched former Chelsea team-mate Frank Lampard enjoy an encouraging first season as Chelsea head coach] I’m very happy because I saw Lampard, I saw Petr Cech is back at the club and I think it’s very important for Chelsea because they know what Chelsea is, they have experience in football, and I’m happy that they are there. I’m sure they can help the team and if you speak about Frank, I played with him, and he’s great, a great person, he was amazing as a player, as you know, and I’m sure that he will improve Chelsea and he will do great. I wish him all the best

2019 12 31 Retrieve

[Nemanja Matic is unsure as to what the immediate future will hold for him] I don’t know what to say. I have a contract for another six months, we’ll see in January what’s going to happen. Will I extend the contract or try to find something else? United have some option to extend my contract, but we will see if the plans of the club match my plans. I couldn’t say anything more because I don’t really know either

United is a bigger club, looking at history, but Chelsea have done better in the last 10 years. They are different, but for the last 20 years they have been competitive in everything. United is history, while in Chelsea we tried to get over United. We didn’t have the titles behind us, but we had to win. We made history and Chelsea will never be able to erase those of us who did it. That will remain forever. I knew roughly what was waiting for me at Old Trafford, I played many times against United. It fascinated me when we went to Asia to tour how big the club is, how much they love United. Regardless of the fact that we have no titles in recent years, I think United, with Real Madrid, are the biggest clubs around.

2020 01 20 Retrieve

[Nemanja Matic felt that Manchester United were completely in control against Liverpool despite suffering a 2-0 defeat at Anfield] On the pitch, we felt, ‘We are in the game, we can score, we can create’. I think we played some good football. In the last 35 to 40 minutes, we were the better side. But it’s hard. If you don’t score against this kind of team it’s hard to draw or to win. I think everyone on the pitch from our team felt that we were in control, completely in control, so that’s the model of how we should always play against top teams

[Matic added on Martial’s costly second-half miss] Yeah, I think that he made a great action, a one-two with Andreas, and tried to do his best to score. We also had one great chance in the first half. As I said, we have to use these chances because against top teams you can create three or four in the game, and you have to use at least one. If you don’t score, they score

[Matic added on Fred and the Red Devils as a whole] It’s great to play next to him. He played a great game. He always gives his best, fighting for the team, exactly what I try to do. We will continue to do our work - we’re working every day for this club and in three days [against Burnley] we have the chance to show that we are better than this [result].

If someone says we played completely badly in this game, I do not agree. We were against probably the best team in the league. In the last 35 minutes we played better, we controlled it and we felt we could score. We have to keep doing exactly that. Let’s focus on the next one, Burnley at home. We have to get three points to keep fighting for the fourth spot for the Champions League

2020 01 21 Retrieve

[If Manchester United chases down a top-four finish, Anything less than three points is no good] Everyone knows that they are very dangerous, especially when they play at home, but we prepared for that game in the best way and we took three points, which was the most important thing. For sure, we will be focused again, we know they can be dangerous, but we play at our stadium in front of our supporters and we will do our best to get three points. Anything less than three points is not good for us, we must win

[United recorded a 2-0 victory at Turf Moor earlier in the season] Physically, they are very good. They are a strong team, all big guys, especially on set-pieces where they are very dangerous, and also with long balls and second balls. We know all that so we have to be fully focused in every situation and not allow them to have any chances. We’re focused on scoring some goals and taking three points, that’s the most important thing

[Matic went on to say of the approach that United need to take against Burnley] It’s important to be patient and move the ball well, and in their half we need to be more clinical in front of goal. The manager has prepared us for this game, we know the way he wants us to play and we will follow that

2020 01 28 Retrieve

[Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic on Antonio Conte’s team] Physically, his teams are ready to run 95 minutes at the same level

2020 01 30 Retrieve

[Nemanja Matic has said he wants to stay at Manchester United] I’ve got a contract until the end of the season. I’m at Carrington every day and open to talk if they think I can help. If not, life will go on. No discussions have happened yet, but my position is clear. It’s a pleasure to represent this club. I came here to win and if they want me to stay then, of course, I’ll give my best to win trophies

I can’t tell who is asking for me but for sure, when you play at Manchester United, many clubs are looking to sign you. That’s not only me, it’s for every player – especially when you’re out of contract. My first option is Manchester United, but if they decide something else then there are always solutions

The club wants to give chances to youngsters, and there is nothing wrong with that, but at a club like this, people also demand results. Supporters are used to trophies. The young players are giving their best but they need time, and the problem is that in these kinds of clubs you do not have time

2020 02 28 Retrieve

[Nemanja Matic says Solskjaer a much better manager than one year ago] Every day he is improving, getting more experience. For sure he will be better and better. Like every manager – Carlo Ancelotti, now and 20 years ago he is not the same. He knows more, he gets more experience, so it will be the same with Ole. He is a much better manager than one year ago, in my opinion. Now he knows all of the players, he knows exactly what he needs to do before the game, after the game. For his job, the experience is very important

2020 03 17 Retrieve

[Solskjaer’s first 12 months at Manchester United] Of course, every day Solskjaer is improving for sure. He is getting more experience and he will get better and better. He is a much better manager than one year ago in my opinion because now he knows all the players, he knows exactly what he needs to do before the games, so I think for his job the experience is very important

2020 03 31 Retrieve

[Nemanja Matic backs Scott McTominay to become Manchester United legend] We are always talking, especially when he started to play in the first team, but now he’s a proper senior player he plays like he’s had 10 years in the first team. With him, we don’t have any problems. I think he will be a very important player for Manchester United in the next 10 years or more. He is the kind of player and person that you always want to have in the changing room. [He is] very professional, with a lot of quality in the legs. His mentality is what Manchester United needs to have, so I think that with any coach, in any club he will fit very well. I’m happy for him and United that they have a player like that in the team. He just needs to continue how he’s been working until now and I’m sure he will be one of the Manchester United legends one day

I remember when I was 20, 21, 22, I always looked to older players to see how they train and how they behave. I think it’s important and I hope I can help the youngsters in our changing room. Obviously, we have a lot of young players

2020 04 13 Retrieve

[Messi and Ronaldo debate verdict given by Man Utd star Nemanja Matic] If you ask my son, Ronaldo [is better than Messi]. They are different, they are different. Ronaldo, of course, he had talent but most of his success, he made because of his hard work. Messi is talented. I’m not saying that he didn’t work, for sure he worked, but they are different. For me it is hard to say who is the best. I think that over the last 15 years, they’re both the best. Some people may say Messi, some Ronaldo but for me they’ve been at the same level for 15 years. What they are doing is very hard, to keep that level for 15 years. It’s not easy to always be the best. I don’t know who is better from those two players, but I’m sure both of them are maybe the best players in football history

[Despite competing with McTominay for a first team spot, Matic feels the Scottish midfielder is on track to become a United legend] We are always talking, especially when he started to play in the first team, but now he’s a proper senior player he plays like he’s had 10 years in the first team. With him, we don’t have any problems. I think he will be a very important player for Manchester United in the next 10 years or more. He is the kind of player and person that you always want to have in the changing room. [He is] very professional, with a lot of quality in the legs. His mentality is what Manchester United needs to have, so I think that with any coach, in any club he will fit very well. I’m happy for him and United that they have a player like that in the team. He just needs to continue how he’s been working until now and I’m sure he will be one of the Manchester United legends one day

2020 04 18 Retrieve

[United team-mate Nemanja Matic is another big fan of Rashford] I think in the future, in the next two or three years, he will show what he can really achieve. Because he can do much, much more in my opinion. But he’s still young. We can’t expect him to play 40 games at the same level because he’s still young, still learning. He’s still developing his body, his mentality. So he can be one of the best strikers in the world, for sure

2020 05 07 Retrieve

[Manchester United team-mate Nemanja Matic says Marcus Rashford can be one of the best attackers in the world] We have a lot of young players, but they have maybe not reached their top yet, but Marcus Rashford has the ability to be one of the best players in the world in his position. He’s still improving, but he has everything to reach that top level

[Fernandes has been involved in seven goals] Because I follow the Portuguese league, I knew he was good – even though he played for Sporting! But I’m very surprised he adapted so quickly to the Premier League. He brings us a lot of qualities, like the confidence he has on the pitch – he always knows what he wants to do with the ball

[Matic also added that he is confident United are heading in the right direction under manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer] Ole is a great manager. I think he has improved a lot since he came to United, and he is different now. I’m sure he has a great future here, and he will win us trophies

2020 05 08 Retrieve

[Matic: If you lose under Mourinho, you’re hiding from him at the training ground!] It depends. If you win, he’s the best guy ever. But if you lose, you’re hiding from him at the training ground. But he’s an amazing coach

Ole is a great manager. I think he has improved a lot since he came to United, and he is different now. I’m sure he has a great future here, and he will win us trophies

[Matic stressed there are no bad eggs among the club’s current players] There is not one guy who is not a good person in our changing room. I’m 31 now, and some of the players are 10 years younger than me. I speak more to players my own age, like Paul [Pogba], David [de Gea] and Juan [Mata], but I set next to Mason Greenwood in the dressing room, so we’ve got to know each other too

[on Bruno Fernandes] Because I follow the Portuguese league, I knew he was good – even though he played for Sporting! But I’m very surprised he adapted so quickly to the Premier League. He brings us a lot of qualities, like the confidence he has on the pitch, he always knows what he wants to do with the ball

2020 05 09 Retrieve

[Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic talks about his footballing journey] I wake up early. I never stay up late. Get up, train, eat, sleep. Even on holiday, by the end of the week I need to train. Football is my life; I take it very seriously. I’ve felt like a professional player since I was five years old. I don’t know how to be any differented have the strength in depth to compete for glory]</b> I think we can do many things. I’m sure we will try to win the Premier League and the Champions League, you never know what can happen in the Champions League. Manchester is one of the best teams, for sure. It’s difficult to make a plan before the season starts but we’ll try to win every game. This competition is something special. They are the best clubs in Europe. We’re happy to compare with them

2020 06 11 Retrieve

[They will return to the field when taking in a trip to Tottenham on June 19, with Nemanja Matic another of those who is eager to get going] I miss football and I miss the pressure before the game. It’s going to be strange, playing without supporters, but we have to adapt. At least we can compete with other teams and, hopefully, can start well

It’s easy. The new routine is to check our temperature every morning, wash our hands and keep our distance, as much as we can. But training is normal - we are now allowed contact training so it’s more or less the same. There are just a few different things before the training.

2020 06 25 Retrieve

[Matic hopes Martial can build Manchester United momentum after first hat-trick] I think it was very important for him to score goals, for every striker it’s important, for his confidence. I’m happy that our strikers are in good condition, tonight Anthony was man of the match, every chance he had went in. Let’s see in the future what he can do for us. But I’m happy for him. Congratulations to him

I think it’s always good play with top players. Not only them, we’re lucky we have top players in every position. So tonight I played with Bruno and Paul, I think we did well, it was good there, I’m sure in the future we can improve a lot together, and also with Scott [McTominay] and Fred, whoever plays with us; I’m happy with the team performance and the way we controlled the game. I think we had control during all 90 minutes, of course we knew they were going to have some dangerous counter-attacks because tactically they play well. We analysed them very well, we treated them with respect, I’m so happy with the team performance, 3-0 against a team who creates problems for every team in the Premier League.

2020 06 25b Retrieve

[Martial finally breaks Man Utd’s hat-trick duck] I think it was very important for him to score goals, for his confidence. Anthony was man of the match, every chance he had went in

2020 06 29 Retrieve

[Man Utd midfielder Matic defends Novak Djokovic for hosting tennis tournament which spread coronavirus] People need to understand that the situation in Serbia was better than here. The country allowed everyone to do whatever they want, everything was open, the shopping centres and the restaurants. So, they started to live normal lives because our country was closed for three months completely. You were not allowed to walk on the street, you couldn’t leave your home, so it was different than [in England]. But when they opened, they said, ‘You are more than free to do whatever you want’. Before that tournament, there was a game with 20,000 people and nobody said anything about that. I just wanted to say that it is not his fault that he made the tournament. He just wanted to help the players play competitions. I don’t see that he [did] something wrong

2020 06 30 Retrieve

[Nemanja Matic positive about his ‘soldier’ role in Man Utd’s squad] I always try to be professional and give my best when I am on the pitch, it doesn’t matter if it is training or a game. I’ve played football for a long time already and this situation is normal, sometimes you don’t play and the coach doesn’t see you as a first option. You can accept it or not but you have to be professional. You have to work hard, wait for your chance and use it. This is exactly what I did. Now the situation is different, the coach trusts me more. I’m a soldier and I wait for the instructions from my coaching team. To be honest, when you don’t play of course you think about everything but in my head, I always try to be positive. I always believe in my quality and I know if work hard my time is going to come again

I’ve followed him for a long time because I played in the Portuguese league at Benfica. I knew he would bring quality for us. He played for a big club with a lot of pressure to win, but I didn’t think he would adapt so quick. From the first minute in the Premier League he made the difference. I’m happy for him and happy we have him in the team. He’s playing in the position where he needs to make the difference. He has all the ability to be the leader on the pitch

Scott knows that I am always there for him if he needs some advice, he is still learning. I am happy with how he has progressed, he is improving. I’ve said already a few times that he will be a very important player for Manchester United in the future

2020 07 06 Retrieve

[Nemanja Matic: Manchester United midfielder signs new three-year contract] I am very happy that I will continue to be part of this great club. As a player, I still have a lot more to give and achieve in my career and to do that with Manchester United will be a huge honour. This is a really exciting team to be part of, we have a good balance of youth and experience within the squad and there is great comradery amongst the group. This is a key part of the season and we are playing well. We will continue to fight to finish the season on a high and make our amazing supporters proud

[Matic: I seized my chance] I always try to be professional and give my best when I am on the pitch, it doesn’t matter if it is training or a game. I’ve played football for a long time already and this situation is normal, sometimes you don’t play and the coach doesn’t see you as a first option. You can accept it or not but you have to be professional. You have to work hard, wait for your chance and use it. This is exactly what I did. Now the situation is different, the coach trusts me more. I’m a soldier and I wait for the instructions from my coaching team. To be honest, when you don’t play of course you think about everything but in my head I always try to be positive. I always believe in my quality and I know if work hard my time is going to come again.