Nemanja Matic trudged off the pitch with a hint of sadness at Old Trafford late in the second half against Brentford. This was his final time representing the club at the stadium.
The Serbian did himself proud with an outstanding last performance on home turf, near faultless in fact as United won 3-0.
Matic played 71 minutes, and still completed more passes than any player on the pitch.
He completed 82 of 85 passes, 96 per cent. One of these three ‘misplaced passes’ counted when Diogo Dalot fired the ball at his head in the second half.
Strong last home performance
Matic touched the ball 95 times, winning one tackle, one interception, and making seven ball recoveries.
The 33-year-old’s contribution was key to United’s control of the game, with the team 2-0 up when Matic came off.
Matic’s contract expires in June, with club and player deciding not to take up the option of an extra year, and go their separate ways.
It is a wise move, because Matic has just not played enough over the past couple of seasons, United need to find a long term midfield successor for him.
Matic has all the traits United require. He is strong physically, he is disciplined defensively, and he is a good passer, also not afraid to try and be direct and create chances.
If only he was 10 years younger. Matic will depart as a model professional, who deserves to go and have some luck elsewhere. He is not expected to sign with another Premier League club.
He still could have a role to play over the final two matches of the season, against Brighton, and against Crystal Palace.
Fred came on to replace him, and could start those fixtures, but Matic is likely to feature in some capacity. His performance last night showed he is still capable of making an impact.