Chris Smalling praises Nemanja Matic’s impact

Manchester United centre-back Chris Smalling has praised the consistent showing of Nemanja Matic since his move from Chelsea earlier in the summer. The Serbia international has been hailed for his ability to shield the backline while gaining a firm control at the heart of the midfield. Speaking on the United Review, Smalling said: “He can do everything. You want to give him the ball because he’s able to find the attacking players very quickly, but he’s also able to break things up and we couldn’t ask for anyone better in the middle.

“The fact he’s got good experience of the Premier League and Champions League is great for us and we were always confident it wouldn’t take him too long to settle in. But I think he’s definitely surpassed that because he’s been one of our main players and has been fit for every game which has been brilliant.”

Matic joined his new teammates just prior to the start of the season, but he began the Premier League campaign in prime fashion with a strong showing against West Ham United in the opener. The Serbian has since maintained his consistency in terms of performances with his only poor resulting in the recent 1-0 defeat to former club Chelsea.

Manchester United are currently just five points behind leaders Manchester City after a 1-0 win over Brighton & Hove Albion, but they could expect this lead to extend further by Sunday with the Citizens favourites to beat Huddersfield Town at the John Smith’s Stadium.

Jose Mourinho’s side have two big games coming up against Arsenal and Manchester City starting in the month of December, and United chances of competing for the title could hinge on positive results in both of those matches. The self-proclaimed Special One has yet to taste success in the ground of a top-six opposition with United, and it will be interesting to see which kind of tactics the Portuguese employs when he takes on Arsene Wenger’s side at the Emirates next month.