Juan Mata has revealed that “concerned friends and family” called him soon after Jose Mourinho was appointed Manchester United manager in May 2016.
The Portuguese sanctioned Mata’s move to Old Trafford in January 2014 and it was thought that he would suffer a similar fate upon his appointment as Man United boss.
But the attacking midfielder has cemented himself as a regular under Mourinho, making 72 appearances in total under the 55-year-old, and recently signed a one year extension with the club.
Speaking to Mundo Deportivo, Mata noted that those close to him were initially concerned for his United career but made it clear, once again, that there had never been any problems between the two.
“I faced it naturally,” he said.
“It’s true I received calls from concerned friends and family but I knew that I didn’t have any personal problems with Mourinho at Chelsea.
“What hurt me is that they spread rumours and lies about what did not happen.”
Any between Mourinho and Mata has always only existed in our minds, and that much has been proven over the last 18 months.
It was the Spaniard who claimed United’s first ever Premier League goal under Mourinho and his deftness on the ball and sheer footballing intelligence has become a vital sticking agent for attacking performances ever since.
He is not what you would call a Mourinho player. Far from it, in fact. But his presence is absolutely vital nonetheless.
As Johan Cruyff once noted, “sometimes something’s got to happen before something is going to happen.” And Mata, throughout his career, has continually paid homage to that very notion, acting as the vital intermediary in attacking movements.