José Mourinho says Nemanja Matic is a ‘genius’ after debut


José Mourinho has labelled his new signing Nemanja Matic “a genius” after the midfielder made his Manchester United debut in Dublin.

Matic started for United in their 2-1 friendly win over Sampdoria at the Aviva Stadium following his £40m switch from the Premier League champions, Chelsea.

He lasted 45 minutes, with the United manager admitting the player was still edging his way back towards full fitness.

“He needs time but [his] experience, intelligence, a genius in the way he thinks - he thinks football,” Mourinho said.

“We will help him to be ready sooner rather than later.” As well as Matic, fellow new boys Victor Lindelof and Romelu Lukaku also began the game and Henrikh Mkhitaryan opened the scoring early on with a header at the far post. Sampdoria equalised midway through the second half, with Dennis Praet’s deflected effort outfoxing David De Gea.

The substitute Juan Mata pounced for the winner with 10 minutes left, coolly slotting in from the edge of the penalty area.

Mourinho said the club had done a “fantastic job” in delivering three of his desired four summer transfers. “To get three out of four I thank the club for that. I will be happier if they get me four of four but they did a great effort for me,” he said.

Following the friendly Mourinho also described the two-game ban handed to Phil Jones for a breach of Uefa’s anti-doping regulations as “very unfair”.

The defender has been suspended for two matches for verbally abusing a doping control officer after being selected for testing following the Europa League final win over Ajax in May. The player was upset at having to miss out on celebrations and a squad photograph paying tribute to victims of the Manchester terrorist attack.

SOURCE: Express