Many Manchester United fans feared for Juan Mata’s United future when Jose Mourinho arrived at Old Trafford this summer. Mata had been Chelsea’s player of the year twice in a row, but after just six months under Mourinho he had been mainly reduced to appearances from the bench, before being sold on to David Moyes at United.
Mata has played under four different managers in his current United spell, but has never been able to consistently hold down a spot in the starting XI. This led to rumours that Mata could be moved on by Jose Mourinho for the second time in his career, but this didn’t happen, the Spaniard stayed at United and even captained the side against Burnley at the weekend. Mata has now opened up about his relationship with the manager and revealed that the rumours that he would be sold were just “stories”:
“Too many stories were created, I’m the one that knows what is going on and nothing was going on. Since I came to United there have been ups and downs but I always felt like an important player under every manager and I am feeling important right now. But I have not had any conversations [with Mourinho] like they say I had.”
Mata is not pretending that he has a close relationship with Mourinho, but insists that it is a professional one, and there are no problems between the two of them. This can only be good as it means that Mata may become a key player for Mourinho this season, and potentially in the coming years. Mata also admitted that his friends and family were worried about his Old Trafford future, but he was not. He claims that he is the only one who knew about his future and he was confident that he was not going to be leaving the club:
“I said it before and I say it again, it is a professional relationship. That is it. That is why I said so many things were written about him coming with me at the club and what was going to happen. But in my mind, I had it clear. Your friends and family want to know what is going on but I always told them the same. I am the one that knows what is going on and nothing was going on.”
There’s no denying that Mata was sold by Mourinho at Chelsea, but he has the options of Eden Hazard, Oscar and Willian, all of whom are capable of playing in Mata’s favoured position behind the striker. But, at United he doesn’t have the same abundance of options, Wayne Rooney started the season there, yet after a string of poor performances Mata has found himself in the starting XI in recent weeks.
Mata has been one of United’s best performers in recent weeks, and against Burnley put in one of the most impressive displays I’ve seen in years where he had a 100% pass accuracy (50 passes), completed all his take ons and won all his tackles. He also created 7 chances and has 6 shots in the game. If he continues to perform like this, then I’m sure Mourinho will not regret his decision to keep Mata at the club in the summer.