Jose Mourinho has played down reports of a new rift with Juan Mata after he replaced the United substitute in stoppage time at Wembley.
The Old Trafford supremo insists Mata understood his decision to take him off and introduce Henrikh Mkhitaryan during the Red Devils’ Community Shield victory over Leicester City.
Mata had earlier replaced Jesse Lingard, who scored the opening goal in the 2-1 win, after 63 minutes and was visibly unhappy as he left the field in the 93rd minute of the match.
But Mourinho played down reports of a further rift with Mata, who reportedly fell out with him at Chelsea, and says the decision was made to combat Leicester’s aerial threat.
“He’s fine now,” the manager said.
“The last five minutes were a nightmare. Kasper Schmeichel, for sure, we have seen videos of his dad going up [for corners] like that. I thought their right-back was Rory Delap throwing the balls 50 metres.
“The last minutes were really difficult. I know I did something that is not nice to do. He [Mata] understands what we did. I couldn’t take off [Marouane] Fellaini or [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic. They were very important to be on the pitch for the ‘Rory Delap’ throw-ins. We wanted to win the game, and we did it.”