Belfast Telegraph

Matic always my preferred choice over signing Dier, admits Mourinho

By Carl Markham

Manchester United were interested in signing Eric Dier over the summer, but Jose Mourinho says Nemanja Matic was always the player he "really wanted".

Old Trafford should witness a fascinating clash between the sides second and third in the Premier League today as Mauricio Pochettino's highly-rated side arrive in the north-west, albeit without injured star striker Harry Kane.

Dier is likely to be among the starters against a club whose interest in signing him is well documented, with the Tottenham boss saying in his new book that Mourinho's interest "destabilised" the England international.

Pochettino insists they have moved on from the issue and his United counterpart certainly feels things have worked out well, having instead signed Matic from former club Chelsea for an initial £35m.

"I have the player that I want to have," Mourinho said of the defensive midfielder.

"Probably I have the player that I didn't think it was possible to have, but in the end we got the player that I really wanted."

Pochettino's new book, Brave New World, also features quotes in the epilogue from United left-back Luke Shaw, who reveals the Tottenham boss used to call him "son" during their successful spell together at Southampton.

The England international freely admits he wants to link up once more with Pochettino eventually, with the full-back even saying: "I think he really wants me to play under him again".

Such comments only fuel speculation about a move to Spurs as Shaw's future - much like opposite number Danny Rose - is up in the air, with the 22-year-old having this season been restricted to just two appearances from the bench in the Carabao Cup.

Asked if Shaw has a future at United, Mourinho said: "Why not? Because of his words?

"If you want to speak about his words, I would be very disappointed if his words were different. I'm always disappointed when a player because he has a new manager, the new manager becomes the best and the old manager becomes very bad.

"Football is full of examples of lack of character. Luke Shaw was just honest. The manager that helped him come to the first-team, the manager that helped him to develop in the best moment of his career, is a manager he doesn't forget, a manager he likes a lot, a manager that maybe one day he would like to be reunited with again.

"So, for me, the perfect words that show Luke Shaw's character in relation to the people he was happy with.

"He has a future here, I think he has, but the situation is not easy because he comes from injury after injury after injury.

"He needs two, three, four, five, six matches in a row to play, to make mistakes, to get condition, to get match fitness - and I cannot give him that. In this moment, I cannot give him that

"If he was a central midfielder then yes, because we only have two but at left-back we have so many options that the situation is not easy.

"But he is in the squad, he works and maybe the opportunity comes."

Belfast Telegraph

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.


From Belfast Telegraph