Juan Mata and Jose Mourinho arrived Manchester United after their painful exits from Chelsea though at different times and for different reasons. For the Portuguese coach, leaving Stamford Bridge was sort of “shameful” while Mata’s case was filled with “sadness”.
Mou, who arrived Chelsea in 2013, was accused of falling out with Mata, who was crowned Chelsea’s Player of the Year for two seasons.
With ‘The Special One’ in charge, Mata was short-changed and forced to become a shaddow of his old self. The player was subsequently sold to rivals Man United in the January transfer window.
Their soured relationship made headlines once again after Mou was signed as The Red Devil’s coach although he maintained it was the player’s decision to leave Chelsea, adding that Mata’s creativity was needed more at Old Trafford.
Did he sell the player, hoping to utilize his talents at Manchester United? Only a genius like Mou can see what the media will never imagine.
In his words: ‘First of all, I didn’t sell him,’ the United boss said when asked about Mata’s departure from Chelsea in January 2014.
‘My job is not to buy and sell. My job is to coach, to work on the pitch and to advise my board about the transfer policy.
‘Secondly, it was Juan that asked to leave and when a player asks to leave I think always you have to think twice.
‘And the third point is that my idea for football with the squad and objectives we had at Chelsea is one thing, and the squad I have at Man United and the profile and what I try to do with this club is a completely different situation.
‘So Juan at Chelsea in my project was one player, and Juan in my project at Man United is another thing.’
Image shows Juan Mata in action against Leicester City.
Talking about the tactical difference between Manchester United and Chelsea, Mourinho continues: ‘[Chelsea] were playing in a defensive block when we won the title in 2014-15, and it’s one thing having players for that and another having players trying to play in a different way and we are trying to play in a different way.’
‘He is very adaptive with his qualities. He has found a very good natural habitat with us.
After United win over FC Zorya Luhansk in the Europa League on Thursday night, Mata has proven that he truly deserves a place in the team’s set-up.
The Spaniard scored in United’s 3-1 victory over Bournemouth and played a big role in Saturday’s victory against Premier League champions Leicester City.
Manchester United will play host to Stoke City on Saturday.