Juan Mata wanted to 'prove himself' to Mourinho at United

The Manchester United midfielder was sold by Jose Mourinho when at Chelsea but was determined to fight for his place when at Old Trafford.

Juan Mata wanted to 'prove himself' to Mourinho at United
Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata has revealed that he had no 'personal problem' when Jose Mourinho was appointed as manager of the club.

The pair had previously worked together at Chelsea, but it was Mourinho who sold Mata to United after making it clear there was no future for him at Stamford Bridge.

Mata was a key player for Chelsea during his three years in London and was part of the squad who won the Champions League in 2012 and the Europa League in 2013.

However, Mourinho allowed his midfielder to leave for Manchester in January 2014 and soon followed after being made manager in summer 2016.

Although Mata was sold by Mourinho, the 29-year-old admitted that there were no issues between himself and his manager.

Firstly, that I had no kind of personal problem with him, no matter what the press said, and secondly I wanted to show what I could bring to the team, to prove myself.

“That was the important thing, to do your talking on the pitch. It’s a challenge in my career that I’m proud to have confronted head on.” Mata added.

Mata explained the Community Shield moment...

 

The Spanish international was heavily linked with a move away from Old Trafford once Mourinho was appointed - especially after what happened during the 2016 Community Shield.

Mata was brought on just after the hour mark during United's 2-1 win over Leicester City, but was then taken off moments before the full time whistle.

"Yes, it did [frustrate me]," Mata said. "In that specific moment, for that specific change, you’ve got to know Mourinho to understand his reasons.

“I’d come on after an hour, we were winning. There were six substitutions allowed and he had one left. He wanted to waste time and break the game up

He’s a pragmatist – he says so himself. So, his thinking is: ‘If they get the ball, they’re going to go long into the box. I’m going to take off the smallest guy’. That’s his reasoning. I understood it, because he’d told me what he was going to do before the change.

“Later on, because of what happened at Chelsea, the media digs up the past. I was happy because we’d won. 

“His reasons for making the change were what they were, and I wasn’t going to question them. There was, and isn’t, any problem with him.”