Chelsea star Juan Mata has revealed that Jose Mourinho never explained the Spaniard’s omission from the first-team to him but has always remained calm about the situation.
The 25-year-old has recently worked his way back into the side for the wins over Southampton and Sunderland. He has been at the heart of a lot of key moments during those games and rewarded his manager for restoring him to the line-up with his performances.
He has been the Blues’ best player over his first two seasons at the club but has been made to fight to his place this term and compete with the likes of Eden Hazard, Oscar, Andre Schurrle, Willian and Kevin De Bruyne.
His omission has often frustrated the supporters and has been discussed at length by fans and pundits alike. But the Spaniard explained that there has been little talking over the matter between the manager and himself as he shed a little light on how certain managers handle the dressing room.
Mata spoke to twentyfour7 football magazine:
“The way managers are depends on the way they understand the dressing room.
“Some managers will not give you any reasons as to why you are playing or not playing simply because they don’t have to. José is like that.
“Some managers will speak with you when you’re playing but they won’t speak with you when you’re not. I just try to keep myself going the same no matter what kind of behaviour, because as a professional, you have to be ready for every situation and whether he does or doesn’t speak to you, you should never let that in any way affect the level of your performance.
“But to be honest I’m the calmest person of them all because I believe in myself and always try to draw the positive things from the toughest moments, so I was OK then and I am OK now. Sometimes you need to keep going, keep believing in yourself, that’s what I was doing and that’s what I’ll do, because the one who knows me best is me, and I believe in myself and I know that everything will be OK.
“When you have played so-so, you know, as you do when you have played well, and badly. Sometimes it’s after a game when you feel good about your performance even if the press said you played not so well. I think everyone reacts to bad criticism, and they think ‘Why? Why me?’ It’s normal, it’s human behaviour. We, players, are the same.”
I’ve long been calling for Mata’s restoration to the starting XI and am glad to see him back in action. He has helped provide that extra quality and magic that we have lacked during difficult times this season as well as taking some of the creative burden away from Eden Hazard, who has been our chief chance creator so far this season.
Whilst the press have only been to happy to tout him as a potential signing for Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain and Atletico Madrid the player obviously has not taken any notice of the speculation around him and has just been getting on with his job. He has shown real maturity where many other footballers may have made a knee-jerk reaction and asked for a move, which surely has to appeal to Mourinho who respects this sort of selfless attitude amongst his playing staff.
Despite only playing in nine Premier League matches for Chelsea so far this season Mata has created 23 chances, the second most in the team, and has laid on two assits. He also boasts a pass accuracy of around 87% – which is particularly impressive considering the sort of passes he would normally favour. I believe he helps to bring the best out of Hazard as well and it’s always a joy to watch the two link-up.