The relationship between Juan Mata and Jose Mourinho doesn’t seem as fractious as it once appeared.
Mata won the Chelsea ‘Player of the Year’ award two years running from 2012 to 2013. Then Jose Mourinho reappeared at Stamford Bridge.
The club’s star player was then mainly relegated to the bench, and left for Manchester United in January of 2014 in order to escape his nightmare.
An ever-popular fixture at Old Trafford, Mata thrived at United. Then Mourinho reared his head once again.
Far from looking like he was on his way out once again following the Portuguese’s appointment as manager in 2016, Mata has now signed a contract extension that will keep him at United until 2019.
“I still feel very happy and very proud to be part of this club,” the 29-year-old told the club’s official website, ManUtd.com.
“I think everyone that belongs to Manchester United should feel privileged, and that’s how I feel. I’m happy with everyone at the club and, obviously, with the manager and my team-mates. Once you are part of this club, your football career is not the same; it changes, because this is one of the biggest clubs in football history.
Every day I try to tell myself how lucky and how privileged I am, try to take advantage of every single training session, and try to see how important it is to be a Manchester United player.”
Mourinho himself was also happy with the deal, speaking of Mata’s importance beyond the pitch and rubbishing any talk of a rift.
“Mata is very important”, he stated.
“When I arrived one-and-a-half years ago, [they said], ‘Mata is in trouble, in trouble, in trouble’, and now he’s getting an extension of one more year. An important player for me; important player for the club; important player for the other players.”
While the Spaniard has made 26 appearances for the Red Devils already this season, the replacement of the misfiring Henrikh Mkhitaryan with Alexis Sanchez will threaten his game-time going forward.