Nemanja Matic was an integral member of last season’s title-winning side and, with the start of the 2015/16 campaign now upon us, the Serbian discusses fresh objectives, personal improvement and strong leadership…
The 2014/15 campaign is undoubtedly one that Matic will look back on fondly in years to come.
On both a personal and collective level, it really couldn’t have gone much better for the powerful Serbian, who played a pivotal role as the Blues secured the Barclays Premier League title and Capital One Cup.
Matic, who made 49 appearances during last season, was rewarded for his impressive performances by being one of six Chelsea players named in the PFA Team of the Year.
Now, however, his focus is fixed firmly on the future, and with the defence of our title beginning later today when we welcome Swansea City to Stamford Bridge, the midfielder is looking forward to a return to competitive action.
‘Of course, we are very happy to start the season,’ Matic tells the official Chelsea website, as we sit down for a chat at Cobham. ‘It’s always a difficult game against Swansea, they are a very strong team, but we are playing at home which is good.
‘As champions, everybody expects you to win, but we are ready and we will try to get the three points.
‘They will play with extra motivation because they are playing against the champions and they want to show that they can compete with us, we know that and we need to be prepared.’
Matic was part of the squad which travelled to North America for our pre-season tour last month, with the Blues playing matches against New York Red Bulls, Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona, before returning to London for further tests against Arsenal, in the Community Shield, and Fiorentina.
‘We had some difficult games against strong teams,’ he says, looking back on our pre-season campaign. ‘We trained very well and I’m sure that we will show our qualities over the whole season because we want to win the title again.
‘I think I did my job well in pre-season. I did everything I can to make sure I’m in the best condition physically and now I just want to get started.’
The midfielder’s development since returning to the club in January 2013 from Benfica has been rapid, and it’s no coincidence our defence, so well protected by Matic, were able to perform to such a high standard last season.
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