Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has hailed Nemanja Matic after the midfielder further reinforced his importance to the club during the weekend defeat of Liverpool, with the Serbian’s performance earning the man-of-the-match award.
Three points at Anfield ensured Chelsea maintained their unbeaten start to the campaign, a run that stretches 17 games across all competitions, with Diego Costa providing the winner for the visitors in a 2-1 triumph.
But it was Matic who earned the most plaudits following this encounter with Liverpool after the imposing and imperious 26-year-old produced another colossal performance for Chelsea in the middle of the park.
Costa and Cesc Fabregas have been the Chelsea players to covet the most glory in what appears to be a procession for the west London club but, says Mourinho, it is Matic who has been his ‘best player’ this season.
“He is the best player,” Mourinho told reporters.
- Liverpool v Chelsea: Player ratings
- Jose Mourinho confirms Cesc Fabregas injury
- Ramires avoids red card for Raheem Sterling punch
"He was signed in the most difficult market. Which is for the players who are coming in mid-season, so the last half of the season was for him to improve, not adaptation, as he was a Chelsea player before, but to improve.
"At this moment he is a giant, not for his size but for the way he plays. The man is a giant."
As alluded to by Mourinho, Matic returned for his second stint at Chelsea during the January transfer window of this year, costing £21 million, and immediately provided the club with the steel and control in midfield they had craved.
His most notable performance of last term came in the win against eventual champions Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium, as he allowed Chelsea to effectively execute what transpired to be a perfect gameplan from Mourinho.
The Chelsea manager chose to recruit a new partner for Matic during the summer transfer window with Cesc Fabregas arriving from Barcelona, and the powers of dominance of the former has allowed the ex-Arsenal captain to flourish.
Fabregas has provided nine assists this season, more than any other player in the Premier League, with Matic allowing the Spain international to get forward with real purpose and affect proceedings in the final third.