Mata and Mourinho – The Secret Footballer

Does Juan really Mata to Mourinho?

(Getty)

(Getty)

The Secret Footballer:  I’ve seen everything there is to see in football, and a lot more outside of it. My anonymity let’s me tell you how it is, from inside the game without the shackles of pre-conception or fan bias.

 

At the top of the week, when I decided to write about Mata, I phoned my friend at Chelsea, who told me the following when I asked why the Spaniard wasn’t featuring. “He’s been injured, mate,” he explained. “He’s just coming back and we’ve got other fully fit players who can play who are just as good.”

And by the end of the week, Jose Mourinho said: “Everything is clear between me and the player. We have no problems. I think he’s a very important player for us. He wants to be a very important player for us. He wants to stay. I want him to stay, the club want him to stay.”

We all know that Mata is not a poor footballer. He may have been injured but, let’s be honest, he isn’t the high energy, powerful and direct type of player that Mourinho likes to fill his teams with. I played against him at Stamford Bridge and, to be honest, given the time and space he had with the ball at his feet, I have to say that I wasn’t knocked out by him.

Mata is a rarity where my own game is concerned. He is the type of player who I could go toe to toe with in a match and have a chance of coming out on top – if our teams were evenly matched, of course – whereas players such as Hazard, Schurrle, Oscar, Ramires and Van Ginkel would run me into the ground before showing how effective and incisive they can be with the ball.

But the funny thing about that statement is that Mata would be in my team every weekend. He was integral to Chelsea’s Champions League and Europa League triumphs as well as winning the club’s player-of-the-year award in each of the last two seasons. And let’s not forget that he is a man who has won the Euros and the World Cup with Spain.

Why do I feel that way about Mata? I couldn’t tell you. It could be that the game against my team was so easy for him that he didn’t have to do anything spectacular but I do remember asking him if he was able to do anything else other than pass the ball sideways? And in fairness, he gave me a little smirk. He’d been rumbled.

But I also completely understand where Mourinho is coming from. The Portuguese has shown a ruthlessness that stems entirely from his vision of how a successful football team needs to play.

The fact that, as I type this, Chelsea have just lost the Super Cup with ten men – 5-4 on penalties after a 2-2 draw – when they really could have done with a player like Mata to come on and keep the ball. It only emphasises the Mourinho approach. He would have turned to his bench and seen Mata and then he’d have told John Terry to warm up.

A penny for the Spaniard’s thoughts at that moment.

Source: TSF

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