Chelsea manager Antonio Conte admits it is ‘unfortunate’ Nemanja Matic is now a Manchester United player.
Matic played a key role in the Blues’ Premier League title success last season before being allowed to complete a £40million summer move to rivals United.
Chelsea will be reunited with their former player at Old Trafford on Sunday and Conte expressed regret at the Serbian’s Stamford Bridge departure.
“About this player I can talk only really well because he played with us last season,” said Conte.
“I think he was one of the key players in winning the title.
“Now Matic, unfortunately, is playing for Manchester United. I wish for him the best.
“Not on Sunday, but in the future.”
The midfielder was a regular for Chelsea last year, making 35 league appearances and also helping the London club reach the FA Cup final.
Conte admitted last summer selling the player was a ‘big loss’ for the champions.
But when pressed into answering why Matic was allowed to join a potential title rival, his former manager replied: “In the past we have already managed this topic.
“I don’t want to come back and speak about the past because I think it’s not important, not interesting for us.”