Former Chelsea coach Ray Wilkins has claimed that he does not quite understand why Jose Mourinho is reluctant to use Juan Mata during Tuesday night’s defeat against FC Basel.
The Spaniard has been behind Oscar in the pecking order of his preferred number 10 position but still wasn’t used from the bench even though Oscar, and the other attacking midfielder’s, weren’t having a good game.
Mourinho made one change from the XI that played West Ham and has since conceded that it was a mistake as they looked well off the pace against a Swiss side that was always going to go at them from the off as they needed three points.
Whilst many may not agree with Mourinho’s preference they would probably accept that with the players Chelsea have it’s always going to be difficult to earn yourself a guaranteed spot, but what many don’t understand is why some players manage to stay ahead even if they’re not at the top of their own game all the time.
Wilkins is one of those that is a little bemused by Mata’s treatment in particular and told talkSPORT:
“Juan Mata gives you great creativity going forward but he is a tremendous retainer of the ball as well and they didn’t have that [against Basel].
“I thought we would have seen Juan Mata play in the second half, but it wasn’t the case. They have got so many creative players in that area that it is obviously a personal preference of Jose’s to use the other guys.”
Following our defeat to Basel the manager said that he’s realised that changes must be made in order to keep his team fresh, especially with a busy winter fixture list on the horizon, so the likes of Mata, David Luiz, Kevin De Bruyne and Ryan Bertrand will hope that they get their chances.
I’ve noticed, particularly on Twitter, that the topic of Mata/Mourinho has descended into a state of pure idiocy. It seems as though you’re branded as being one extreme or the other.
Those that believe Mourinho is wrong to leave Mata out so often and argue that he should be in the squad as an important part of the team are labelled as people that are putting his interests ahead of the team, when the majority of them believe his presence would be to the team’s benefit.
On the other hand, those that trust Mourinho with it are often lumped into the category of being in complete denial and following anything he says with blissful blindness and ignorance. Whereas, in truth, most of these people believe that he is trying to do what is best for the team.
My belief it that there is room for Mourinho, Mata and Oscar at Chelsea and as the manager it’s up to Jose to strike the balance. He is one of the top coaches in the world so he’s capable of doing this and if he can build a side around Frank Lampard, a 35-year-old, like he did against West Ham then he can find a place for one of our most creative talents.
Mourinho is very demanding but Mata also seems like a patient man to me. A lot of the discontent is whipped up by the media and bickering amongst the supporters. I don’t want to see the manager sacked or the player sold, I just want them to work together and do what is best for Chelsea.