Jose Mourinho was surprised Man United were offered Nemanja Matic

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has admitted he was surprised when he received a call from Nemanja Matic’s agent offering him the chance to buy the player during the summer transfer window.

Matic has been one of United’s standout players since joining from Chelsea for £40m in July. The midfielder has played every minute in the Premier League this season.

The move raised many eyebrows at the time and it seems none more so than with Jose himself.

“I was surprised when [Matic’s] agent called me to say ‘do you want him?’ ” Mourinho told Sky Sports News.

“I was surprised, but he’s an agent I know well. Normally he’s very direct and objective, he doesn’t waste time, he doesn’t try to get people to be interested in his players to improve their situation at their club.

“Normally he’s very straightforward, so when he told me ‘you can have him if you want’, of course I want.”

Matic will be back at Stamford Bridge for the first time this weekend when Chelsea host Manchester United on Super Sunday, live on Sky Sports Premier League.

He’ll be one of three former blues to make the trip alongside the manager and Juan Mata, but Mourinho is playing down the significance of their return.

“I think it’s something normal,” said Mourinho

“I promise you I go to Stamford Bridge the way I go to the Emirates, the way I go to any big match. It’s a big match because of the opponents, not because it’s a team where I was the manager.

“Maybe the first time I went back to Stamford Bridge in 2009 with Inter, then in 2016 last season after the second spell with Chelsea, ok.

“But then it becomes something normal. I think it’s a big game because it’s a big game not because I’ve been at Chelsea or Matic or Mata. It’s just because Chelsea are Champions and Manchester United are Manchester United.”

Mourinho’s men go into Sunday’s game second in the table, five points behind leaders Manchester City and four ahead of Chelsea in fourth, and Mourinho thinks his former employers are very much in contention for the title.

“Chelsea are the champions and one of the top teams in the country and I consider them and they consider themselves too, a big contender for the title.

“I think six (teams are in the race) because Everton, in spite of their huge investment, didn’t manage to follow the group.

“I think in the table now you can already feel the four or five are there. If Liverpool are a couple of points behind I’m pretty sure in a couple of weeks they’ll be close to us too.”