Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho insists that he didn't humiliate — or at least didn't intend to humiliate — Nemanja Matic by substituting him off 28 minutes after bringing him on as a half-time substitute for Ramires last weekend. Interpretations differ, of course, but only Mourinho will truly know what he was thinking. We can either believe him or not.
Regardless, what's done is done and we try to move on, and, most importantly, get better. Nemanja Matic's form, though hardly the only problem, has been one of the glaring issues on the season so far. Gaping holes are the norm of the Chelsea midfield nowadays, which is something we've gotten used to not having to deal with too often since the big Spiderbeast's return to the club 18 months ago.
With Matic away on international duty with Serbia, it was inevitable that he'd get asked about the Southampton match and his relationship with Mourinho, in general. According to one Serbian outlet, here's how he answered.
"This is what happened with Mourinho and I can't comment on that. What happened, it happened, we move on."
Apparently, it is indeed a "can't comment" rather than a "won't comment" — i.e. the insinuation is that Matic has been told that if he knows what's good for him, he doesn't blab about behind the scenes matters to the media in Serbia.
"The rules are such, understand me."
A "gag order" according to at least the secondary source, but perhaps that's a bit sensationalist. I'm ok with not knowing exactly what Matic thinks about all this as long as he and Mourinho can figure it out behind the scenes. It should be noted that if Ruben Loftus-Cheek is indeed to get a run in the side as the manager's promised, there's a good chance he would be taking Matic's place, rather than Fabregas's. (Unless we're intending to roll with a Matic-RLC pivot and push Cesc forward, which is a move that hasn't always worked out too well in the past.)
Interesting times ahead, to be sure.