Nemanja Matic admits to having been forced to fine himself at Manchester United, but the Serbian midfielder blames Paul Pogba for his training ground misdemeanour and intends to bill the Frenchman for “50 per cent”.
An experienced member of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad is, alongside Harry Maguire, in charge of ensuring that rules and regulations are adhered to within the Red Devils’ ranks.
Matic is running a tight ship, leading to “a lot of money” going into the pot, with the 32-year-old revealing that he has had to put a hand into his own pocket after being caught chatting with Pogba.
What has been said?
“I have to say, just before the Newcastle game, I fined myself,” Matic has told United’s official website.
“I was late for a meeting by two seconds, and the rules are the same for everyone. I had to fine myself, because they catch me!
“I was late to the meeting. In front of the room [where the meeting was taking place] I was talking to Paul, so I will ask him to pay 50 per cent of my fine. I don't know if he will accept!”
Who else has been fined?
With Matic’s fine box seeing plenty of business, it would appear that the vast majority of United’s squad have come unstuck at various intervals.
Club captain Maguire is another to have admitted that he has been stung by the Red Devils’ fine system, although he also has his gripes.Getty
The England international claims his penalty was “debateable”, but Matic maintains that rules were broken.
He added on his skipper: “He was fined, yeah.
“He brought his phone to the gym. The problem was [that] me and him, we decide what are the fines! A few days later, he brought the phone to the gym, so I said, 'Harry, I'm sorry…'.
“It's very important, discipline, in our team, so that's why we made some basic rules.
“Not to be late for training, not to be late for meetings, no phones in the gym. The guys struggled to adapt for a few months, so we had a lot of money in our account, but it's going to be better!”
The bigger picture
United are benefitting from high standards being demanded on and off the field this season.
The Red Devils sit second in the Premier League table, 10 points adrift of leaders Manchester City, and are also through to the quarter-finals of the FA Cup and last-32 of the Europa League.
Further progress in continental competition can be wrapped up on Thursday, with Matic, Maguire and Co. taking a commanding 4-0 lead into the second leg of an eagerly-anticipated clash with Real Sociedad.