Mourinho hoping key Man Utd star suffers World Cup misery

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has admitted he is keeping his fingers crossed Serbia’s World Cup adventures come to a close in the group stages.

That’s because the United boss is concerned that key midfielder Nemanja Matic is in need of a rest this summer and could suffer burnout if he doesn’t get the required relaxation time during the pre-season.

Serbia face Costa Rica, Switzerland and Brazil in Russia later this month and with the South Americans hotly tipped to finish as group winners, Mourinho, who will work as a pundit for the competition on Russian TV, hopes Matic’s side finish in third place.

Discussing his World Cup group-stage predictions for RT, Mourinho said: “So Group E, Brazil wins. I need Matic to go on holiday so it’s Switzerland to finish second.

“I’m sorry Nemanja but you need a holiday.”

Mourinho has been known before to carefully guard the 29-year-old’s workload, and gave Matic a personal break in February when he handed the midfielder a note during United’s defeat of Chelsea which read: ‘You have 3 days off :)’

The United boss is known for demanding so much off his players and Matic admitted earlier this season that Mourinho can be “difficult” to play under as a result.

“It is very difficult to work with him because he always wants more and more,” he said. “Even if you win the league he wants to win again next season. He is like this and the players need to be ready for that.

“He is special because he wants to win always. You can see when we lose a game he cannot accept that. Probably that’s why he won more than 20 trophies in his life.

“Because at this high level, at Manchester United and where I used to play at Chelsea, the players need to be ready for that because the pressure is big.

“Everyone expects you to win every game. Obviously, it is not possible, but supporters always expect. It doesn’t matter if you are tired or not, supporters want high quality football. It is normal.”

Matic featured 49 times for United over the course of the 2017/18 season, making himself a fixture in Mourinho’s side following his £40million switch from Chelsea.


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