Nemanja Matic has insisted that Jose Mourinho deserves to be recognised as a “special” manager.
The 55-year-old laid the foundations of his Old Trafford tenure by claiming the League Cup and Europa League in his first season.
And he has continued to move in the right direction over the 2017/18 campaign, with his side second in the Premier League and two wins away from being in the Champions League quarter-finals and FA Cup semi final.
Speaking to Press Association Sport, Matic made it clear that the Portuguese deserves the title of “special”.
“He always wants the best,” he said. “He always wants to win.
“Of course, him as a coach, if you play good he always thinks that you can play better. This is good. He always asks you to do more.
“I am happy that we work with him and he’s a coach who won many, many trophies in his career and for sure we can learn a lot of things form him.
“He won many things. The coach is good if he won the trophies. He won in every country he has been, he has won a lot and that’s why they call him special.”
Only someone with genuine, standalone talent receives the kind of attention – from godly praise to fervent derision – Mourinho gets, and that has been the case since 2003 when he won the Champions League against all odds with Porto, knocking out Sir Alex Ferguson’s Man United in the process.
He then came to England and declared himself to be a “special one”, proving it emphatically over the next two years with back-to-back titles, before heading off to Italy to once again win the Champions League against all odds – this time with Inter Milan.
He then went to Spain and won further silverware, breaking the record points total with Real Madrid, ahead of returning to Chelsea, which turned out to be a tale of dizzy heights followed by the biggest low of his career.
But he wouldn’t be thrown off. He wouldn’t disappear. Instead, he took charge of the biggest club in the world and claimed more trophies. His story, above all, is an ode to what you can achieve when you never give in.
To label him as “special” is not an opinion; a brief glance at history shows it to be fact.