Manchester United manager,Jose Mourinho, has calmed fears in the club’s fanbase regarding the future of Juan Mata, saying that the Spaniard has a place in his side while also denying that he ever pushed the 28-year-old out of Chelsea.
Mourinho was in charge at Stamford Bridge when Mata was sold to United for a fee in the region of £40m, leading to fears that the midfielder could be turfed out at Old Trafford with the Portuguese manager now installed at the head of the club.
Speaking to the press this week though, Mourinho said: “He’s here and he works hard. He knows that I know he is a good player and he has space in the squad. Until August 31 the market is open for every one of my players that is not happy, but to be fair I think he is [happy]. I think he is happy and I am not expecting him to ask to leave.
“I am expecting him to do what he is doing now, which is to fight for a place. In the end there will be space for everyone, we have 38 matches in the Premier League, we expect to play a lot of them in the Europa League and domestic cups so in a squad of, let’s say, 22 players, there will be a space for everyone. So, yes, there is a space for Juan.”
He also sought to clarify the situation which saw Mata leave Chelsea, explaining: “First of all, I think maybe all of you misunderstood what happened in our previous club because I never told Mata to leave. I never pressed the club to sell him. It was his decision and only his decision, and I don’t like players that want to leave.
“That’s why I think every player has a price because if one day a player wants to leave it is because he does not want to be with us. If the player doesn’t want to be with us, goodbye – be happy where you want to go. Juan at our previous club was not so happy because he was not my first choice at that time. He wanted to play every game.
“He had a fantastic offer from a big club like Man United, he wanted to leave. My previous club had a great offer, we thought that was financially very much acceptable. We were not with this old-fashioned idea of, ‘I don’t sell players to my direct competitors inside of my own country’. We sold him to Man United and done. Nothing else.”