Football

José Mourinho Gives A Surprisingly Honest Assessment Of Juan Mata's Man United Future

José Mourinho Gives A Surprisingly Honest Assessment Of Juan Mata's Man United Future

As soon as José Mourinho arrived at Old Trafford, the bells seemed to toll for Juan Mata's Manchester United career.

The Spaniard was Chelsea's Player Of The Year for two consecutive seasons before Mourinho's arrival back at Chelsea in 2013, but soon fell out of favour with the Portuguese manager, spending large spells of the first half of the '13/14 season on the bench.

His falling out of favour was perceived as a simple tactical manoeuvre due to Mata's lack of defensive work rate, as opposed to the more typical Mourinho-player fall-out (who could fall out with Juan Mata, for Christ's sake?), and in January of 2014, he was off to David Moyes' Manchester United for a £37.1m figure.

With Mourinho's seemingly unwavering tactical approach and player roles, most United fans expect Mata to join a number of the current crop in following the likes of Victor Valdes, Nick Powell and - seemingly - James Wilson through the Old Trafford exit gates.

The two-time Champions League winner took part in an insightful Q&A with Independent journalist Mark Ogden and was refreshingly open about where Mata stands in his new United set-up, referring back to Mata's move from Chelsea to United:

I sold because he asked for that. Nobody in my previous club wanted to sell or push him.

He wanted to leave and my philosophy is I don't want players that want to leave. I want players that want to come and want to stay. But I think since the first day everything is clear between us.

There is space for him. He’s a talented player and I don't promise places to anyone. I promise respect and I like him so if he wants to stay and I think he wants – until this moment I don't have one little sign that he wanted to leave - so he wants to stay and yes there is space for him and yes I think he can be useful to the club.

It's somewhat refreshing for Mourinho to address the issue head-on rather than throw out the usual stock managerial phrases. Of course, Mata only asked to leave Stamford Bridge having spent four months on the bench, and so despite what might be construed as a positive update on his future, the former Valencia playmaker may way find himself in a similar position this January.

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As initially 'reported' rather callously on social media during the week, the 28-year-old was certainly sporting what one might describe as a 'summery' physique during United's warm-ups ahead of their pre-season tie with Borussia Dortmund this afternoon, which won't be appreciated by his new manager.

Mourinho also poured more cold water on a potential move for former United midfielder Paul Pogba when quizzed by Ogden as to whether the French international is worth £100m:

I don't speak about players from other clubs he’s a Juventus player. If any club wants one of my players and it speaks about him so Paul Pogba is a Juve player and what we are trying to do we are trying to do in an honest, correct, institutional way.

The only thing I can say to you is we did 75% of our market. We established four important target profiles – not faces profiles – and we got 3 of them at the very early stage of the market and now we have 25% of our market to conclude until the 31st of August and that player is not the only one. It's a profile we have, we have options for that profile and we’re going to get a fourth player but maybe it’s not the one you think.

Let's hope Blaise Matuidi has his phone turned on when Real Madrid, who missed out on their primary midfield target to arch rivals Barcelona this morning, inevitably come knocking for Pogba in the coming days.

For a full transfer round-up which sifts through the bullshit so you don't have to, join our boy Jack Cahill.

You can also check out Mark Ogden's full interview with José Mourinho on The Independent.

Gavan Casey
Article written by
Former handwriting champion. Was violently bitten by a pelican at Fota Wildlife Park in 2001.

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