Nemanja Matic’s little taunt at Manchester United teammate Bruno Fernandes regarding Benfica’s dominance over Sporting quickly came back to haunt him as the Portuguese playmaker fired Matic’s own jibe right back at him.
Spirits are high in the United camp as the players returned to full contact training this week, with the Premier League announcing that the season will resume on June 17 with the Red Devils back in action against Tottenham a few days later.
Fernandes and Matic have struck up a close bond – despite having to stay two metres apart – since the former’s January move from Sporting, and their entertaining banter was picked up by MUTV’s cameras this week.
The two midfielders played for rival clubs in Portugal, with Matic donning the shirt of Benfica and Fernandes captaining Sporting prior to joining United.
As they peddled on exercise bikes on Thursday, Matic made reference to the Primeira Liga table this season, saying: ‘There is always a distance between Benfica and Sporting’ and pulling his arms wide apart.
With Sporting trailing Benfica by 17 points, Fernandes had no response to his teammate – but he got his own back the following day in training as he led his side to victory in a small-sided match.
Matic a dizer que “hÃ¡ sempre uma distÃ¢ncia entre Benfica e Sporting”.— Tiago Fernandes (@tmsfernandes) May 28, 2020
Bruno Fernandes sorri conformado com a verdade…ð ð¦ pic.twitter.com/ILz9bhXbwn
Fernandes was on the winning team with Scott McTominay, Angel Gomes, Luke Shaw, Mason Greenwood, Victor Lindelof, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, and Odion Ighalo and couldn’t resist teasing Matic with the words he had said a day earlier.
Tagging the Serb on Instagram, Fernandes wrote: ‘Nemanja Matic, is always a distance between the winning team and your team.’
Ighalo replied to the post with a series of laughing emojis and simply wrote: ‘Winning team’.
Fernandes has quickly integrated with the United squad, with his new teammates frequently highlighting his leadership qualities, and fans are eagerly awaiting seeing their January signing in action alongside Paul Pogba.
The Frenchman has been out of action for most of the season but has returned to full fitness and will be able to take part when the season resumes.
Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, meanwhile, showed he still has a touch of magic left in his boots, displaying his finishing prowess with a ferocious effort against Fernandes – who was filling in between the sticks – in Thursday’s session.