• Premier League

Matic must earn starting place - Mourinho

ESPN staff
January 17, 2014
Matic is Chelsea's first signing of the January window © Getty Images

Jose Mourinho has revealed that new signing Nemanja Matic will have to earn his spot in the Chelsea line-up after re-joining the Stamford Bridge outfit for £20.75 million this week.

Chelsea face Manchester United this weekend but, despite the big deal to bring him back to Chelsea, it is unlikely Matic will feature in the starting 11, as Chelsea look to keep pace with fellow title chasers Arsenal and Manchester City.

Despite concerns over his fitness it looks likely Frank Lampard will start, though Matic may well find a spot on the bench.

And while Mourinho believes signing Matic was an opportunity Chelsea just could not turn down, he feels it would give the wrong message to the rest of the side if the young Serb walked straight into his first-team plans.

"Matic is not starting the game. I feel that I owe that respect to my players. He's my player now, but I owe this to my other players," said Mourinho.

"They are doing well and playing well. It wouldn't send the right message to them if a new player came and immediately played in the team. So I won't use Matic from the beginning.

"Lampard is training at home all week with the team, so normally yes. Ivanovic not one single training session with us. Today he will, but I don't think he can play. Lampard I think he can.

"I'm sure he will [have an impact]. I'm happy he came now because it gives him these five or six months, so the beginning of next season is not the beginning for him. He will be in the team in this evolution, in this moment of building up a team we want the team to be for many years. I'm happy that he came in this window.

"Not because we desperately need him - we don't, because our squad is a good squad and we have good balance - but in terms of how we analyse our squad for the future, his profile is the perfect one."

Mourinho also hinted that there may be deals on the horizon for Lampard, Ashley Cole and captain John Terry.

The Chelsea veterans are all out of contract at the end of the current campaign but Mourinho admits he is not worried about the situation as he expects the trio to make the right decision.

"What has to come will come naturally," Mourinho said.

"The respect the club has for them is more than obvious. No pressure. We will do in the end the best thing for the club and the best thing for the players. The best thing is a result of communication, of changing ideas and feelings, but it will come naturally. It's different to last season, when John and Frank weren't playing.

"You could guess lots of things. At this moment it's all very calm. They trust us, we trust them. It's not about making a contract desperately tomorrow or next week. Very calm. No stories."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
ESPN staff Close