Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has admitted that Nemanja Matic is the one of the best individuals he has ever worked so far in his career.
The Serbian international played under Mourinho at Stamford Bridge and it was the latter, who re-signed the midfielder for Chelsea in January 2014. He went on to win two league titles since then, with the first title success coming under the Portuguese tactician's guidance.
Matic left the west London club and made a switch to Old Trafford in the recently concluded summer transfer window. The 29-year-old has been a regular figure in United's starting lineup and has impressed in the first five matches played so far.
During Mourinho's final season at Chelsea, Mourinho brought Matic as a substitute against Southampton and replaced him later in the game. This led to a widespread criticism from a section of the media, suggesting the pair's relationship took an ugly turn. However, Mourinho has ruled out such suggestions and even shed some light on the incident.
"Matic, I cannot say that I had better guys than him in my career," Mourinho told the Sunday Times.
"And he has with me something which marks forever, which was a match where he was on the bench, I play him minute 45 and I took him off minute 70, 75.
"The press wants a story, the press wants blood. My blood, or his blood, or both. He was really sad. I was also sad because it's not something nice and it's something that I did only twice in my career.
"But the next day he comes to me and he 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."