Matic: Benfica boss moved me to defensive midfield

Nemanja Matic

Manchester United star Nemanja Matic has revealed that his former manager at Benfica convinced him to move from attacking to defensive midfield.

The 29-year-old has been a mainstay for the Red Devils this season since joining them from Chelsea in July, and has given their midfield solidity with his defensive output.

However, the Serbia international used to play as an attacking midfielder before Benfica manager Jorge Jesus told him to switch to a more defensive role due to strong competition from playmakers Pablo Aimar and Javier Saviola.

"When I started to play football, my dream was to play as an attacking midfielder and to score goals," Matic told Inside United.

"When I grew up slowly [motions to being tall with his hand], I started to move back and, when I came to Benfica, the coach Jorge Jesus told me I won't have the chance to play attacking midfield.

"We had many players better than me in that position, such as Pablo Aimar and Javier Saviola. So it was difficult for me and he said if I want to play then the no.6 position in defensive midfield was for me and I can become one of the best in the world.

"I started to work hard and to listen to him and, step by step, I improved. As you can see today, I am at Manchester United and I am happy that I changed my position."