Mata has found a home at Man Utd – Mourinho

28 Sep

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I didn’t sell Mata at Chelsea – Jose Mourinho

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho says midfielder Juan Mata has found his “natural habitat” at Old Trafford.

Mourinho sold the Spain international to United for a then club record £37.1m in 2014 when he was manager at Chelsea.

He replaced Mata in last month’s Community Shield having brought him on as a substitute, a move BBC pundit Danny Murphy called “embarrassing”.

But Mourinho said: “In my project at Chelsea he was a good player. At Man Utd he is a very good player.”

And he said he saw Mata as a key part of his plans.

The 28-year-old had been repeatedly left out of the Chelsea side before his January 2015 exit, completing two full 90 minutes in the Premier League during the 2014-15 campaign.

Mourinho did not feel the Spain midfielder did enough defensive work in a side built around physicality that would go on to become champions – but he has repeatedly claimed that it was Mata who asked to leave.

And at United, Mourinho says, he has a completely different squad.

“At Manchester United I have no players to play transitional football,” said the Portuguese.

“We are not so physically compact like when we won the title in 2015. We are trying to play in a different way that is very adapted to his qualities.

“He has found a natural habitat for his football.”

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