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