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Jose Mourinho 'Surprised' Chelsea Offered Nemanja Matic to Manchester United

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistNovember 3, 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

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has revealed he was surprised to be offered Nemanja Matic in the summer.

The Serbian midfielder joined United from Premier League champions Chelsea for £40 million before the start of the 2017-18 season, and Mourinho said he was quick to accept when Matic's agent contacted him about the move, telling Sky Sports News:

"I was surprised when [Matic's] agent called me to say 'do you want him?' I was surprised, but he's an agent I know well. Normally he's very direct and objective, he doesn't waste time, he doesn't try to get people to be interested in his players to improve their situation at their club. Normally he's very straightforward, so when he told me 'you can have him if you want,' of course I want."

Matic, 29, has been one of United's best performers this season, and he will return to Stamford Bridge for the first time since his departure for the Red Devils' crucial league clash with the Blues on Sunday.

It will be Mourinho's third match back at Stamford Bridge as United manager, and he will be hoping for a better result than the previous two occasions—Chelsea won 4-0 in the league and 1-0 in the FA Cup last season.

United have enjoyed a better start to the new season than the west London outfit and sit second in the Premier League table, five points behind leaders Manchester City but four ahead of fourth-place Chelsea.

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Watching Nemanja Matic bossing Manchester United’s midfield https://t.co/6gAEJga0lr

Matic has played every minute of United's league campaign this term, and Chelsea's decision to sell him to a direct Premier League rival has been widely questioned, with Goal's Nizaar Kinsella describing the decision as "crazy."

The former Benfica man was a key part of Antonio Conte's title-winning side last term—he played in 35 of Chelsea's 38 league games—and would still be valuable for the Blues given their injury concerns.

Tiemoue Bakayoko and Danny Drinkwater were signed in the summer to bolster the central-midfield area.

But they have both endured injury troubles this season, and with N'Golo Kante sidelined, Cesc Fabregas has looked fatigued of late having picked up the slack.

Conte and Chelsea could do with Matic, but instead he will be playing for United at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

Mourinho attempted to play down the significance of his, Matic and Juan Mata's returns to west London with United, saying he will approach Sunday's clash "the way I go to any big match" in the aforementioned Sky Sports News interview.

He added: "It's a big game not because I've been at Chelsea or Matic or Mata. It's just because Chelsea are champions and Manchester United are Manchester United."

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