Why Mourinho’s Not So Favourite Player Would Survive At Manchester United

Juan Mata came in as a record signing for Manchester United back in January 2014, and David Moyes expected the world out of him. The Spaniard was forced out of Chelsea by a taskmaster of a manager who demanded a level of defensive work from his attackers that he believed Mata could not provide, so he tried to make a go of things as creator-in-chief at an ailing Manchester United side. However, that plan hasn’t exactly worked out well, as the former Valencia man has failed to shine both under Moyes and Louis van Gaal. Jose Mourinho has now arrived to steady the ship and restore the club to its former glory, but it is widely believed that his arrival will spell the end at another club for Mata, particularly given the attacking signings that have been made already this summer and the continued pursuit of Paul Pogba,

But a player of Mata’s unquestionable capability should not necessarily be cast aside just because it didn’t work out last time.

STAT ATTACK:

There are just a few better players at picking out a final ball than Mata. Since he moved to Chelsea in the summer of 2011, only David Silva(50) has racked up more assists or created more chances than he (40). Prior to Mourinho’s return to Stamford Bridge, Mata was making less than one tackle per 90 minutes played. Unsurprisingly, under the Portuguese’s tutelage that rate almost doubled. And no harm was done to his play-making: he laid on a chance for a team-mate at almost the exact same rate – more than three every 90 minutes – both before and after Mourino’s arrival. In fact, in the six months he spent under Mourinho, he created chances more frequently than any other Chelsea player.

However, unfortunately, both his bosses at Manchester United have failed to get the best out of him, as he has either been played out of position or in teams which focused a lot more on defensive shape and possession rather than taking chances and attack. Mata may not be the fastest or the most agile player on the ball, but he is technically gifted, has exquisite vision and also pops in with handy goals every now and then. He made more passes than every United player bar Daley Blind last season, played more key passes than anyone else at the club and also ranked third in the goal-scoring charts. He might not be a typical Mourinho player, but at Chelsea last season he ran out of ideas and it might well have been useful to have a different option available.

A thinker,thus a cynic.