UCL: Matic, Motta go-head-to-head

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Jose Mourinho favourites Nemanja Matic and Thiago Motta of PSG will tonight go head-to-head in the UEFA Champions League (UCL) last-16 second-leg showdown at the Stamford Bridge.

The encounter pitches together two examples of a central component in Mourinho’s trophy-winning formula.

Tall, left-footed holding players, Chelsea’s Matic and PSG’s Motta excel both with and without the ball, fulfilling the principal criteria that Mourinho has come to look for in the ‘number six’ defensive midfield position.

The Chelsea manager first encountered Motta during his time as Louis van Gaal’s assistant at Barcelona, where the future Italy international arrived as a 17-year-old from his native Brazil in 1999.

Ten years later, they were reunited at Inter Milan. Motta joined from Genoa and played an important role in the team that Mourinho led to glory in Serie A, the Coppa Italia and the Champions League in 2010, although he missed the European final after being sent off against Barcelona in the semi-final.

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