Image: Juan Mata in action for Manchester United.
Jose Mourinho was Juan Mata’s nemesis at Stamford Bridge [having sold him to Man U while he was Chelsea manager] but as fate has brought both men together again at Old Trafford, Mou admits the player has a place in the team.
The Portuguese coach who’s prepared to rewrite history with Manchester United says he’s happy with Mata’s situation at Old Trafford.
Mou’s recent comments on the Spain international footballer has put to rest, speculations that Mata was to leave United soon after he was appointed manager of the club side.
‘The Special One’ spoke with Sky Sports about Mata, saying: “He’s here and he works hard. He knows that I know he is a good player and he has space in the squad.
“Until August 31 the market is open for every one of my players that is not happy, but to be fair I think he is [happy]. I think he is happy and I am not expecting him to ask to leave. I am expecting him to do what he is doing now, which is to fight for a place.
“In the end there will be space for everyone, we have 38 matches in the Premier League, we expect to play a lot of them in the Europa League and domestic cups so in a squad of, let’s say, 22 players, there will be a space for everyone. So, yes, there is a space for Juan.”
Mourinho had to remind the media that he wasn’t the reason for Mata’s Chelsea exit. The coach explains there was no rift between him and the player, adding that it was the 28-year-old’s decision to move on.
Speaking about events that unfolded at Stamford Bridge, Mou said:
“First of all, I think maybe all of you misunderstood what happened in our previous club because I never told Mata to leave.
I never pressed the club to sell him, the coach revealed.
“It was his decision and only his decision, and I don’t like players that want to leave. That’s why I think every player has a price because if one day a player wants to leave it is because he does not want to be with us.
“I f the player doesn’t want to be with us, goodbye – be happy where you want to go. Juan at our previous club was not so happy because he was not my first choice at that time. He wanted to play every game.
“He had a fantastic offer from a big club like United, he wanted to leave. My previous club had a great offer, we thought that was financially very much acceptable. We were not with this old-fashioned idea of, ‘I don’t sell players to my direct competitors inside of my own country. We sold him to Man United and done. Nothing else.”