09 Dec Mourinho’s winning mentality has rubbed off on United players – Matic
Nemanja Matic has spoken ahead of the derby about how Jose Mourinho’s relentless drive and winning mentality has infected the Manchester United squad.
Old Trafford plays host to the biggest match of the Premier League campaign when swashbuckling Premier League table-toppers Manchester City arrive on Sunday afternoon.
Pep Guardiola’s runaway leaders boast an eight-point match heading into the 175th Manchester derby, making it crucial for Mourinho’s men that they do not slip any further behind.
United are buoyed by a run of four straight Premier League victories, displaying the kind of winning mentality that Mourinho has instilled in a club that had lost their way after Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement.
“Yeah, he’s a manager who has won many trophies and he always wants to win,” summer signing Matic said.
“When you’re in a club like Manchester United and when you have Jose Mourinho as manager, you always want do more and always want to win.
“I understand that from him and I’m sure we will do our best to earn some more silverware this season.”
Mourinho revealed Matic will play through the pain against City, having missed the midweek Champions League win against CSKA Moscow with a muscular problem sustained in the recent win at Watford.
The defensive midfielder dug deep to complete last weekend’s impressive 3-1 win at Arsenal, where the red card picked up by influential midfielder Paul Pogba was the a major negative.
Having shone either side of his hamstring injury, the France midfielder now kicks off a three-match ban when City arrive at Old Trafford.
“He’s one of the best players in the world in his position,” Matic told Inside United. “He’s great to play with.
“Technically he’s great and so powerful. I’m sure he can still improve as he’s young and he’s in the right club for him to make that improvement.
“He has a good manager and good staff around him. I’m sure he will improve a lot and win many things with United.”
While Pogba is out of the derby, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Phil Jones are available for selection again along with Matic.
Marouane Fellaini will be assessed on the eve of the game, while Eric Bailly and Michael Carrick remain sidelined.
The latter has played just once since being named United captain and underwent a procedure to treat an irregular heart rhythm felt during that solitary Carabao Cup appearance against Burton in September.
Carrick is hoping for a swift return to action and Matic cannot wait to see the veteran back in the matchday squad.
“Michael is very important for this club and I’m sure he will help us this season,” the Serbia defensive midfielder said.
“Him coming back from the injury is very important for the changing room, but he’s also a great player.
“You know everything about him. I don’t need to talk about him because he’s a great player, but I know him as a man too and I know he’s a great man.
“So I’m also happy to see him training again.”