It has been a difficult start to the season for Juan Mata as he has been left out of the team often and if reports are to be believed then it is a real test in terms of his future at Chelsea but his manager praised him for his performance against Southampton.
Jose Mourinho admitted that he should shake things up more often following the 1-0 defeat to FC Basel and promised that players like Mata would get their chances over a busy December and the Spaniard certainly impressed on his return to the starting line-up.
The Portuguese manager appreciated not only Mata’s craft but his willingness to help out Branislav Ivanovic when it came to stifling Southampton’s Luke Shaw when he ventured forward from left-back.
Mourinho praised his playmaker:
“It was good. I think in the second half Mata gave us what we needed.
“We were playing 4-4-2 and needed him to be a bit of a winger, come inside and combine with the attacking players.
“We also needed to control Luke Shaw because the kid goes forward and he [Mata was a big support for Ivanovic, so he was good.”
The 2013/14 campaign has been a humbling experience for a player that is as popular as Mata is but if he keeps putting in performances like that it will make it more difficult for Mourinho to leave him out than it has already been.
No matter what anybody says about this player and that player being better it’s a stone cold fact that none of our players can create chances with the sort of frequency Mata and Eden Hazard do. Mata created five goal scoring opportunities – one of which was an assist – and has made 20 chances for team-mates in total in the Premier League.
In comparison Oscar has made 17 goal scoring opportunities in 13 league matches and Hazard leads the way with 28 in the same amount of matches, but the Brazilian already has five league goals this season.
Anyway, I believe there’s room for all of them in the side and would rate the trio as being way ahead of the likes of Willian, Kevin De Bruyne and Andre Schurrle. It was a pleasure to see Mata back in the line-up and he definitely provided that little bit of magic that we have lacked in previous games, so let’s hope his form continues in a similar vein and Chelsea reap the benefits.