Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic has labelled the media as “idiots” for suggesting he had a tormented relationship with former manager Jose Mourinho.
The Portuguese boss left Stamford Bridge by “mutual consent” last Thursday after the club claimed they were “in trouble” and there was “palpable discord between manager and players”.
Nine defeats already this season has left the champions 20 points behind the leaders Leicester and their top-four hopes have almost disappeared and that was enough for Roman Abramovich who reluctantly decided to act.
The club did make it clear that they held Mourinho totally responsible for their dramatic decline even though several of last season’s star performers, including Serbian Matic, have under-performed this time around.
Matic was substituted by Mourinho just 27 minutes after being introduced to the action at half-time, immediately after Graziano Pelle had given Southampton a 3-1 lead.
Meanwhile there have been numerous reports suggesting there have been factions in the dressing room who have been leading a revolt against Mourinho, but Matic has played down the talk and denied he had a “bad relationship” with his old boss.
“I’ve worked with Mourinho two beautiful years, so that means for me he is always linked the good memories,” Matic told Mondo. “I have read several times I think that I had a bad relationship with him, being a little rough, but it is likely to have been written by some idiots. I commented with Mourinho about these allegations, we just laughed.”
Former Holland and Chelsea coach Guus Hiddink has returned to replace Mourinho as Chelsea manager for the remainder of the season and Matic is relishing working with the 69-year-old.
“He is an experienced professional who has already worked at the club, knows the people, knows the mentality, so I expect we will be able to get good results with him,” he said.
“The change of coach has come in really difficult moment, when we are in a precarious position in the league.
“In the Champions League we are really good, we were the first in the group, we got a tough opponent in Paris Saint-Germain, but you never know. There’s still a lot to play, I hope we will be able to save the season.”