Jose Mourinho believes Chelsea have learned a valuable lesson from the sale of Nemanja Matic to Benfica, and claims the midfielder would never have been allowed to leave the club if he was in charge at Stamford Bridge.
The Portuguese coach was asked about the Serbia international during his pre-Champions League press conference on Tuesday, as Matic prepares to return to the Blues starting line-up for tonight's last 16 second leg clash against Paris Saint-Germain.
The 26-year-old - who has just completed a two-game domestic ban following his recent red card against Burnley in the Premier League - has established himself as one of Mourinho's most consistent performers as the protective shield in front of the back four.
It's a huge turnaround for a player that failed to make much of an impact during his first stint in west London, before eventually being sold as a makeweight in the deal that brought David Luiz to England from Estadio da Luz.
However, Chelsea soon realised the error of their ways after Matic began making a name for himself in the Primeira Liga, and eventually paid £22 million to bring him back to the club in the summer of 2013.
Mourinho paid tribute to Roman Abramovich and the Chelsea board for forking out such a significant sum on a player they previously had on the books, when they could've saved face by not even considering re-signing the combative defensive midfield star.
"Chelsea were brave by bringing him back," the 52-year-old was quoted saying by the Daily Mail. "If in this world you want to do the best for your club you don't protect yourself from possible critics. You simply do what you think is the best.
"We wanted a midfield player and we had on the table three or four but the best one he was a former Chelsea player. I don't say a player they lost but they were brave to say we are sure this is the right one, we are sure he is the best one, we are sure he is going to be a success here.
"Probably the next time Chelsea does a deal with a young player they will keep control. At these ages, the evolution of players can be good or bad. You can loan or even sell a player but you have ways of being in control of his future."
Mourinho defended the mistake that was made with Matic by blaming the high turnover of head coaches at Chelsea prior to his return, which sometimes allows for emerging young players to slip through the net due to the constant change in demands from different managers.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing
"Another aspect is the fact that Chelsea had so many managers in these years. It is difficult for the business people on the board," he explained. "For one manager, Matic is the right profile of player, another one thinks Matic can go because I don't like him. This guy I like because he is fast, this guy I don't like because he is small.
"With a philosophy on the table, it is much easier for our board. If I was here, a left-footed player, 1.95 metres tall, would never, never, never leave. Never."
Chelsea fans: Do you believe Jose Mourinho's statement that Nemanja Matic would never have been sold if he was in charge at Stamford Bridge in 2010? Or do you think he's just capitalising on the benefit of hindsight? Share your thoughts below...
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