Mourinho hails 'genius' Matic after dazzling debut

Jose Mourinho was full of praise for new signing Nemanja Matic as the holding midfielder made his Manchester United debut.

Matic started for the Red Devils in their 2-1 friendly win over Sampdoria in Dublin yesterday morning (Singapore time) following his £40-million (S$71.9m) switch from Premier League champions Chelsea.

The 29-year-old lasted 45 minutes, with Mourinho admitting the Serb still lacked full match fitness.

"He needs time, but (his) experience, intelligence, a genius in the way he thinks - he thinks football," Mourinho said.

"We will help him to be ready sooner rather than later."

As well as Matic, fellow new boys Victor Lindelof and Romelu Lukaku also started the game at the Aviva Stadium.

United opening the scoring in the first half when Henrikh Mkhitaryan headed home at the far post after a lightning break that stemmed from a charged-down indirect free-kick on the edge of their own six-yard area.

Sampdoria equalised midway through the second half, with Dennis Praet's deflected effort deceiving David de Gea.

Substitute Juan Mata got the winner with 10 minutes left, coolly side-footing in from the edge of the penalty area.

Mourinho said his club had done a "fantastic job" delivering three of his desired four summer transfers.

He added: "To get three out of four, I thank the club for that, I will be happier if they get me four of four, but they did a great effort for me."

After the game, Mourinho also described the two-game ban handed to Phil Jones for a breach of Uefa's anti-doping regulations as "very unfair".

Defender Jones has been suspended for two matches for verbally abusing a doping control officer after being selected for testing following the Europa League final win in May.

The player was upset at having to miss out on celebrations and a squad photograph paying tribute to victims of the Manchester terrorist attack.

His manager said the anti-doping authorities should have taken into consideration the significance of the occasion and allowed him some time to celebrate with teammates.

"It's not a normal match, it's a final, it's a cup, it's a medal, it's the celebration, it's everything," Mourinho said.

Mourinho said he will leave the decision on whether to appeal against the ban to Jones himself, noting that he ran the risk of getting it extended if the appeal failed. - PA SPORT

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