Why doesn’t he Mata anymore?
by Domenico Tudisco
Last season Juan Mata scored 12 goals in the league and, just as impressively, had 15 assists to his name. This means he was involved in 27 of Chelsea’s 75 Premier League goals.
With the arrival of Jose Mourinho in the summer, the Spanish World Cup winner is finding it tough to even settle for a place on the bench, after being left out of the full match day squad on several occasions. This, in my eyes, is simply incredible.
The snub of Mata has been a big talking point surrounding the club in the media – this is what Jose had to say on the matter:
“Juan has to learn to play the way I want to play. He has to be more consistent, has to be more participative when the team loses the ball, and I think it is not his fault. It is just a consequence of the way he played in the last few years.”
Mourinho points out that the way Mata played in the last couple of campaigns is not good enough. Yet the way he played in the last couple of seasons earned him back to back awards as Chelsea player of the year, where the club triumphed in Europe in the Champions League and the Europa league respectively!
Yet the way he played in the last couple of seasons earned him back to back awards as Chelsea player of the year
His first start of the season came last night in the Capital One cup third round away victory against Swindon. The player was involved in the first goal with a defence-splitting pass to put fellow countrymen Fernando Torres through on goal.
Mata has been kept out of the squad by the Brazilian Oscar, who is Mourinho’s preferred choice for the free attacking role in behind the striker – a position that Juan Mata too likes to operate in. The Portuguese tactician simply doesn’t feel the pair are compatible and can play together…and he has made his choice.
Ultimately, though, Mata hasn’t been left out of the squad just because of Oscar. Instead, and more importantly, Mourinho doesn’t feel his style of play suits his disciplined tactics. From the above quote, Mourinho suggests the World Cup and Euro Championship winner is not a team player and needs to be more consistent. Based on last season, he was just about Chelsea’s only consistent player!
This week Chelsea coach Steve Holland has spoken about the situation, urging the attacking midfielder to trust the manager;
”Having to adapt – and Jose has used that phrase – is nothing particularly new here, It’s another adaptation that is required. Juan has shown in his time here that he’s more than capable of doing that. And I’m sure that will be the case this time.”
I am forced to recall some of his performances from last term, particularly his 2 goals away at Tottenham. He ran that game, helping Chelsea to a 4-2 victory against their London neighbours. He was simply a joy to watch, not only in that game, but for the majority of the season.
I am forced to recall some of his performances from last term, particularly his 2 goals away at Tottenham. He ran that game
After the Swindon game last night, the player himself commented on his situation at the club for (I believe) the first time:
“It’s easy for me to focus on football and just do what I have to do. The only thing I have in my mind is to keep working, keep training hard, keep improving and keep scoring and making assists. That’s what I did”
Who am I to tell Jose Mourinho what to do (don’t answer that)? He is one of the best managers the world has ever seen. However I cannot hide my displeasure in seeing Mata on the bench, or even out of the squad all together. He is just too good for that. I hope Mata takes the advice he has been given on board and keeps working hard to break back into the starting line up. His creativity and involvement cannot only aid Chelsea, but it’s good for the neutrals and the league to see him in action in general.
And boy, with Ronaldo, Bale and co having left in recent years, the Premier League needs to keep hold of all the top-level stars it has left!