Image: Jose Mourinho
Jose Mourinho may have attracted Juan Mata’s wrath during last night’s derby against Leicester City for the Community Shield Cup, following a disappointing selection and substitution–though the Red Devils won.
Mou fielded the Spaniard at 63′, granting him barely 27 minutes on the pitch before he was substituted at stoppage time.
Although it looked like Mata was displeased with the “embarassing game”; so much so because everone had thought things were working out well between the coach and player who separated at Chelsea in 2014, Mourinho was smart as always, to squash rumors that there’s still no love between them.
Image shows Juan Mata moving out from the pitch after he was substituted for Henrik Mkhitaryan.
Mourinho has this post-match statement to give about his 28-year-old Spain international footballer, and the rumored misunderstanding: “Mata is fine, he understands what I did”.
“He played very well, he gave me exactly what I needed,” Mourinho told BT Sport.
“I couldn’t take Zlatan [Ibrahimovic] or [Marouane] Fellaini off because Leicester’s ‘Rory Delap’ throw-ins would win it.
“The rules allow six changes, I had made five and I wanted to stop the game.
“I need to take off the smallest player because we were expecting a lot of long balls. He is the smallest one.
“But I think he played very well. He gave me exactly what I needed.
“He was very angry but they threw everything.
We want to win and everyone is happy in the end.”
Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy equalized with a wonderful solo strike after 52 minutes when Fellaini’s error at a backpass, went the opponent’s way.
However, Mou blamed the pitch for the error after his player intercepted a ball from Nigeria’s Ahmed Musa.
He said: “It’s a mistake of the slow pitch.
“I put my hand on the surface and thought ‘wow, we’re in trouble’ because we wanted a fast pitch.
“Marouane gives the backpass, the ball slows down, and Vardy smells everything and is really fast.”