Chelsea midfielder Nemanja Matic has explained to the club’s official website how it is his job to keep the balance in midfield and kill off the opposition's attack.
The Serbian international re-joined the Blues last January for a reported £21 million fee following a successful three-year stint with Portuguese outfit Benfica.
The 26-year-old immediately received wide acclaim for a string of fantastic performances at the back end of last season, and he has continued in such vein so far this campaign.
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As per the table provided by Opta Stats, it’s clear to see just how effective Matic has been at Stamford Bridge this season and how important his role for the team is.
He averages 2.64 tackles per game, an impressive 2.82 effective clearances and a whopping 8.18 ball recoveries. Is there is a better defensive midfielder in the Premier League? Arguably not.
Alongside the more creative Cesc Fabregas, the duo have built the platform allowing Jose Mourinho’s side’s more creative players to do their damage in the final third.
“My job is to play defensive midfielder; going forward is his [Cesc’s] responsibility as well as the other players that play in front of us,” he explained to the official Chelsea side.
“I just try to do my job. If once or twice per game I can go forward I will do that but my main job is to keep the balance in the midfield and if we lose the ball then try and kill their game. Of course I also want to give Cesc and the other attacking players the ball when I have it.
"During the game we move around depending on the situation for him and for me, and whether we’re attacking or defending.
"It’s no problem who’s on the left and who’s on the right. It’s more important we keep the balance and that in every part of the pitch we are stable.”
The Blues stretched their unbeaten run to the start of the season with another victory at early season title challengers Liverpool.
The gap between the two clubs now stands at 15 points, a deficit which after just 11 games looks a gap too big to bridge for the Merseysiders.