Manchester United fans were full of praise for Nemanja Matic’s performance during their side’s 2-1 defeat to Real Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup.
The Serbian was handed a chance to impress from the start against the Champions League winner and, even with Madrid running riot, he was a wonderfully composed figure at the base of midfield, stamping out attacks and freeing up players further forward with a number of perfectly caressed balls forward.
He launched a shot that Keylor Navas could only parry and Romelu Lukaku, not long after missing a golden chance, managed to fire Jose Mourinho’s men back into the game.
Man United fans were quick to heap praise on the indomitable 29-year-old for what was another powerful display.
That Lukaku goal came from Nemanja Matić. Has easily been Manchester United's best player tonight. Looks very promising for season ahead.
— Liam Canning (@LiamPaulCanning) August 8, 2017
Matic having a good game so far. Doing the dirty stuff well and a comfortable passer. Only one who can seem to get the ball back.
— Rob Dawson (@RobDawsonESPN) August 8, 2017
Nemanja Matic has already won over all the fans who doubted him, been absolutely class for us in such a short period of time.
— ManUnitedMedia (@ManUnitedMedia) August 8, 2017
Matic proving me wrong tonight, absolutely brilliant. Actually contributing in our attack as well. Game on now…
— Hesham Bilal-Hafiz (@hesham786) August 8, 2017
Matic very impressive tonight. Nice touch, good delivery. He'll be much more than a destroyer this season
— James Robson (@jamesrobsonES) August 8, 2017
The clash with Madrid was always going to be an important litmus test for United and, for a good 60 minutes, Mourinho’s men could only cling on against the brilliance of Madrid’s attacking frontier before eventually grabbing the initiative as the game entered its latter stages.
But Matic thrived throughout. In the searing Macedonian heat, with Zidane’s side looking ominous, the 29-year-old was effortlessly composed, plucking the ball away at vital moments and shifting the ball forward with purpose. Despite having only one pre-season game under his belt, he was the man keeping United together.
The early signs suggest that Matic will be a superb – and necessary – spine for Mourinho this season.