Nemanja Matic has leapt to the aid of former Manchester United teammate Harry Maguire, insisting the criticism aimed at the centre-back is ‘a disaster’.

Maguire has been a regular target of abuse from both United fans and rivals for well over a year now, with the criticism ramping up in recent weeks after he lost his place at club level under new manager Erik ten Hag.

“What people are doing to him, it is a disaster,” Matic said told The Times.

“Everything has to have limits and some of these people writing on social media, they don’t have their own lives, so they just have to write bad things about someone else.”

Matic went on to discuss his time at United and his eventual departure from the club last summer. The 34-year-old midfielder asked to be released from his contract one year early, bringing his five-year association with the Red Devils to an end in favour of a third link-up with Jose Mourinho, this time at Roma.

“To be honest, I needed a new challenge because I never started playing football for money, it was because I enjoyed being on the pitch,” he said. “I wanted to play more, so once I had the call from Jose, I was quite sure I made the right decision.”

He continued: “I have to say, everyone in the club really did try to do their best. But when things are not going in the right direction, when the results aren’t there, it’s difficult, the pressure is huge, and of course nobody is happy with the performances.

“When I first came to Chelsea in 2009, there were four or five teams who didn’t have the quality to compete. Now, every team has a top manager and top players. It doesn’t matter what badge you are wearing, if you don’t play well, if you’re not well organised on the pitch, you get punished straight away.”


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