Nemanja Matic has revealed who is responsible for him playing at the defensive midfielder spot, the club website reports.
Matic, who moved to Old Trafford from Chelsea in the summer, is considered to be one of the world’s best defensive midfielders at the moment. Matic now reveals that it wasn’t his idea to change positions but one of former Benfica coach Jorge Jesus.
“When I started to play football, my dream was to play as an attacking midfielder and to score goals.” he said. “When I grew up slowly, I started to move back and, when I came to Benfica, the coach Jorge Jesus told me I won’t have the chance to play attacking midfield.
“We had many players better than me in that position, such as Pablo Aimar and Javier Saviola. So it was difficult for me and he said, if I want to play, then the No.6 position in defensive midfield was for me and I can become one of the best in the world.
“I started to work hard and to listen to him and, step by step, I improved. As you can see today, I am at Manchester United and I am happy that I changed my position.”
“With my height, it is difficult to play forward in that role but I don’t know. Maybe the coach said that my height was a problem when maybe it was my quality!
“Aimar and Saviola were very small but extremely good technically and had very good quality.”
The 6 foot 4 midfielder played as a playmaker at Slovakian outfit Kosice from 2007 to 2009 before he moved to Chelsea. During his first spell with the Blues, Matic played just two games under a number of managers in two years and was eventually shipped to Benfica where he met Jorge Jesus.
In his three years at the Portuguese club, Matic played 56 games as a defensive midfielder, impressing Jose Mourinho in the process. Thus Matic found himself at Stamford Bridge for his second spell with the Blues.
Matic has rise to become one of the world’s best defensive midfielders, leading many to question Chelsea's decision to sell him to rivals Manchester United in the summer.