13 August, 2017
The midfielder rejoined Jose Mourinho for £40million, opting to leave last season's Premier League champions for Old Trafford. Conte made it a clear what "a great loss" it is for his side to see Matic go to a league rival, and just how "very important" the Serbian was to his team.
"Matic knows very well what I think about him", Conte is quoted as saying by Sky Sports. 'The importance for me about this player, as I repeat he's a really real good player, he's a really strong player, very important for our team. Sometimes you must accept different decisions.
Matic's former team-mate and Chelsea captain Gary Cahill also appeared to question the decision to sell the player.
Matic started 30 league matches last season and came off the bench in five more, but his minutes were expected to be cut for the 2017-18 campaign due to the arrival of new signing Tiemoue Bakayoko.
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"But [Conte] spoke about him in such a way about his incredible importance to the job they did past year - Matic and N'Golo Kante in front of that back three - and I have no doubt that he has not sanctioned that move, he is not happy with it and ultimately he is uncomfortable with it".
Matic won two Premier League titles, the FA Cup and the EFL Cup across two spells at Chelsea.
"He gets the ball, he tackles, he allows others to play - you saw that with Chelsea".
"I'm not sure how good Bakayako is going to be for Chelsea, but he's going to have to be some player to get to the level of Matic".
Chelsea have signed Tiemoue Bakayoko as a replacement, although the France global will miss the start of the season through injury.