It was often said that Roy Keane was Sir Alex Ferguson on the pitch; and Matic, whether at Chelsea or United, clearly serves as the Portuguese's chief inflictor of his ruthless vision.
But the United boss thought that was the impossible dream - until a surprise phonecall told him that he had finally got his man.
'We are much better organised at every level. The training routines are much better organized. And I felt that there was no chance this could happen.
"We're going to try to win the title".
Mourinho has designs on achieving success in the league, UEFA Champions League and the domestic cups in 2017-18 and he's not shy about expressing his excitement.
Mourinho added: "In many things, it is".
"I look forward to the season with optimism, with enthusiasm".
"I want, I want!"
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"And that's something I really like in players - consistency". I want the Champions League to start. "I'm on fire. But I will behave on the touchline!" Becoming the first United manager to finish on top of the pile since Sir Alex Ferguson is great motivation for someone with his pride and ego, and numerous troubles that afflicted his first season, despite winning two cup trophies, have disappeared. He understands the score under Mourinho better than any player in this current side. So I don't think he'll be a huge loss to them.
'Man City, fantastic manager, great spending, already very good players, are equipped. They didn't sell, as some were expecting, players like Mesut Ozil, Alexis [Sanchez]. Liverpool is equipped. Chelsea were the champions easily, they lost some players but bought some players.
'Of course to buy lots of good players is important and better squads are better equipped to win the title.
"So it's hard to say which of us is better equipped". I just think the competition can be better than ever'.
"Then this season, when I got the call that Matic wants to play for me and for Manchester United, and he can make it happen, I thought he's the ideal player for me". Not just for his qualities but also for my relationship with him, the way I know him.
"I want to play", he said. He doesn't need time to adapt to England.
"He's one of those players who gives me what I like in a player, which is consistency".