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Phil Neville Says Heads Should Roll over Chelsea Decision to Sell Nemanja Matic

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistNovember 1, 2017

Manchester United's Serbian midfielder Nemanja Matic applauds supporters after the UEFA Champions League Group A football match between Manchester United and Benfica at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England on October 31, 2017.
Manchester United won the game 2-0. / AFP PHOTO / Oli SCARFF        (Photo credit should read OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)
OLI SCARFF/Getty Images

Phil Neville has said the person at Chelsea responsible for sanctioning Nemanja Matic's sale to Manchester United in the summer should be "sacked." 

The former United star spoke on BBC 5 live Sport after the Blues lost 3-0 to Roma on Tuesday and believes they made a big mistake letting the midfielder go:

BBC 5 live Sport @5liveSport

"Whoever made the decision at #CFC to sell Matic needs sacking" @Fizzer18 on 'the poorest decision I've ever seen in the Premier League' https://t.co/PqjFo9kCeG

His £40 million transfer raised some eyebrows in the summer, and it was indeed a surprise that Chelsea allowed him to join a direct title rival.

Blues boss Antonio Conte appeared to want to keep the Serb, after telling Sky Sports (h/t Samuel Lovett of The Independent) "sometimes you must accept different decisions, but he is a great loss for us."

Director Marina Granovskaia and technical director Michael Emenalo wield much of the power at Stamford Bridge when it comes to transfer activity, so it is perhaps they who bear responsibility for the decision to sell Matic to United.

Football journalists Adam Bate and Kristof Terreur also believe it was a misstep from Chelsea:

Kristof Terreur 📰 @HLNinEngeland

@ghostgoal Matic / Kanté: bringing balance and both complementary. Making a defence look good?

Indeed, the Blues have missed the stability he provided in midfield, and his absence has been even more keenly felt because of N'Golo Kante's struggles with injury this season.

That was on display against Roma, as the Giallorossi tore them apart at the Stadio Olimpico.

Neither of Chelsea's summer recruits, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Danny Drinkwater, are in the same mould as Matic, and both have had difficult starts to their Stamford Bridge careers—the former has struggled to replicate his Monaco form, while the latter has largely been sidelined through injury.

What's more, Matic has been free to put in excellent performances for United as he did against Tottenham Hotspur, per Sky Sports Statto:

Sky Sports Statto @SkySportsStatto

Man of the Match, Nemanja Matic Most passes (53), possession gained (10 times), interceptions (4) and distance covered (11.61km) for Man Utd https://t.co/XIBAPRzDzN

Sky Sports' Kaveh Solhekol believes the Blues do not deserve too much criticism after their defeat in Italy:

Kaveh Solhekol @SkyKaveh

Bad night for Chelsea in Rome but let’s not get carried away. Any team would struggle to replace Costa, Matic & Terry

However, while Alvaro Morata looks to be a strong replacement for Diego Costa, Matic's departure was a problem of their own making.

Conte should be able to bring more balance to Chelsea's side when his full complement of midfield options are available, but it's clear their decision to sell Matic was a poor one, and they may need to make amends in January.

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