Jose Mourinho: 'I never sold Juan Mata. I need him at Man United more than I did at Chelsea'
Juan Mata may have feared for his Manchester United future when Jose Mourinho was appointed, but his manager today assured the Spaniard he is pivotal to the club’s future.
Mourinho dismissed the idea that Mata’s long-term prospects were grim because he’d been sold while the Portuguese coach was at Chelsea.
Indeed, the United manager suggested his plans to play a ‘different profile’ of football at Old Trafford compared to Stamford Bridge make Mata a key player.
While Chelsea were hailed for being a methodical, defensively sound unit, Mourinho says his ambitions at his new club will evolve the style.
“There are big differences,” said Mourinho.
“At Man United I have more players to play transitional football. Football is the main objective, we are not so physically strong and compact and playing in a defensive block like we did when we won the title (with Chelsea) in 2014/15,” Mourinho explained.
“The football we want to play here is different. We are in the beginning of that process. I think Mata is very adept to do that with his qualities. We need players with these qualities. He has found a very good natural habitat.”
When asked to explain why he sold Mata to United for £37.1 million in January 2014, Mourinho shifted responsibility to his former employers.
“I didn’t sell him because my job is not to buy and sell,” he said.
“My job is to coach and my job is to work on the pitch. My job is to advise my boards on the transfer policy. I don’t buy and I don’t sell and I never did.
“Secondly it was that he was one who asked to leave and when a player asks to leave I think you always have to think twice. The third point is that my idea of football, with the squad I had at Chelsea, with the objectives we had at Chelsea is one thing. The football I want to play at Man United, the profile of my squad and what I want to do in this club is a complete different situation. My project at Chelsea he was a good player, my project at Manchester United is a very good player.”