The Portuguese hailed his attacking midfielder ahead of Man United’s trip to Wembley to face Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday night.
Mata’s current contract was set to expire in the summer, but as with almost all of United’s players, the club have always had the option to trigger than one-year extension.
Mourinho was effusive in his praise of Mata, and defensive of his treatment of the Spaniard.
“Mata is important,” Mourinho said.
“He is another one, a big story when I arrived one-and-a-half years ago – ‘Mata is in trouble’. Now he’s getting an extension,” the 55-year-old United boss revealed, reminding people of how Mata was written off when Mourinho arrived because of their relationship at Chelsea which saw Mourinho sell Mata to United for over £37m in January 2014.
Yet Mourinho was insistent upon his arrival that there were no bad feelings with Mata and that it was a simple football decision. That appears to be undoubtedly true, with Mata consistently an important part of the squad since Mourinho’s arrival, if not a key player as such.
“He’s an important player for me, an important player for the club, an important player for the other players,” Mourinho commented.
Mata is a role-model for young footballers and a fantastic influence on the United dressing room. Calm, considered and experienced, Mata can always assist with the development of the younger players, while his actions off-the-pitch are exemplary, creating the Common Goal Initiative which aims to see all players pledge 1% of their wages to a common goal to tackle the world’s key issues.