Nemanja Matic has been one of Chelsea's key players ever since his return to Stamford Bridge in January last year. His commanding midfield performances helped catalyze our title challenge last season. Conversely, his poor performances this season have contributed greatly to our poor league form as well. At one point, things got so bad that Mourinho not only criticized him in public, but also gave him the most embarrassing substitution of the substitute move. Unsurprisingly, stories of discontentment between player and manager soon followed.
But in an interview to Serbian news portal Mondo after receiving Serbia's Player of the Year prize, the midfielder bashed the press over these stories, saying that anyone who came up with these theories is most likely an 'idiot'.
"I have worked with Mourinho for two beautiful years, so with him I will always link the good memories. I have read several times that I had a bad relationship with him."
"I will be a little harsh, but that is likely to have been written by some idiots... I talked with Mourinho about these allegations, we just laughed."
-Nemanja Matic; source: Mondo via Sport Witness
Matic also talked to Mondo about Guus Hiddink, as well as Chelsea's chances in the Champions League and how difficult it's been to identify a clear favourite to win the Premier League.
"[Hiddink is] an experienced professional who has already worked at the club, knows the people, knows the mentality, so I expect we will be able to make good results with him."
"The change of managers has come in a really difficult moment, when we are in a difficult place in the league. In the Champions League we are really good, we were the first in the group, we got serious rivals [in the knock-outs with] Paris Saint-Germain, but you never know. There's a lot to be played, I hope we will be able to save the season."
"If you look at the results this season, not only ours, it is clear that it is difficult [to win the Premier League]. I think it will be [a battle for the title] until the end."
-Nemanja Matic; source: Mondo via Google Translate
Matic has shown some signs of life recently, though he hasn't really been himself ever since that Ashley Barnes tackle in February. Hopefully he'll be able to put that incident behind him eventually; he'll be just as important for Hiddink as he had been for Mourinho.