Jose Mourinho substituted Juan Mata for Henrikh Mkhitaryan at stoppage time just a few minutes after the player went in as a substitute for Jesse Lingard (63 minutes) in the second half of the Community Shield game last night, and the Spaniard isn’t happy with that “slap in the face”.
Image: File Photo
The match against Leicester City once again, has triggered reactions from Manchester United fans who are yet to forget the events at Chelsea that forced the Mata out to Old Trafford.
Jose [Chelsea manager at the time] sold Mata to United in January 2014 for reasons speculated to be “personal”, without expecting that fate would bring them together again.
While the midfielder enjoyed a short-lived playing time at Old Trafford before the Portuguese coach was hired as coach for the club side, recent events bring fears that Mata’s future is now in doubt.
Before Mourinho sold Mata from Stamford Bridge to Old Trafford, the player had previously been considered Chelsea’s player of the season and it was widely speculated that the sale had a personal edge although both parties claimed “it was a mutual decision with no hard feelings”.
With Man U’s high profile summer acquisitions — Eric Bailly, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Paul Pogba expected, there may be no space left for Mata to hang on except among the reserves. Last night’s game against The Foxes proved this speculation right.
Granted, Mourinho may have other reasons rather than personal, for subbing Mata when he did but anyone could read the relationship gap between a coach and his player.
With Mata heading off the pitch, several fans spotted the Manchester United coaching staff intervening to console the player, with images showing a brief conversation with the manager as well, Telegraph wrote.
Mourinho was quoted as saying after the encounter that his decision to substitute Mata in the game was “tactical”.
The Special One somehow knew what to say to Mata that made the player cheer up for a while.
If he’s supposed to have just been ‘humiliated’ by Mou, why has Juan Mata had a permanent grin on his face since the final whistle?
— Kevin Moffatt (@astrogasmic) August 7, 2016