The arrival of Jose Mourinho to Manchester United has brought a smile back onto the faces of the United faithful, the type of smile we have never really been able to muster up since the days of Sir Alex Ferguson. However, there is one individual at the club who may not be smiling so much, and that individual is Juan Mata.
Having played under Mourinho back at Chelsea, the Spaniard fell out of favour with the Portuguese who was said to be unimpressed with the attackers work rate and instead opted for Oscar.
Since joining United back in January 2014, Mata has divided opinion amongst the supporters. Yes he had his moments, most notably back in March 2015 against Liverpool at Anfield, netting 2 decisive goals including a spectacular acrobatic effort, but has more often than not failed to deliver the goods for the club on a consistent basis. By no means has Mata been a flop, we just expected so much more.
Former head coach Louis Van Gaal’s defensive tactics and opting to play the Spaniard in an unfamiliar position out wide admittedly didn’t help matters. Mata isn’t, and never was a natural winger, with his preferred position on the field in the 10 role behind the striker. We’ve never really seen Mata been given a proper run of games in that position.
So should Juan Mata remain at Manchester United this season? Hand on heart, no, he shouldn’t. You can’t help feel that Mourinho’s previous relationship with Mata will be an issue between the pair. Ask yourself this: would Juan Mata get into Jose Mourinho’s starting eleven? The answer would again be no.
For a player like Mata not to be playing week in week out is a crying shame, not only for us but for football in general. He can create pieces of magic on the football pitch in an instant, show beautiful flair on the ball and create almost like poetry passing, he is a footballer that needs first team football, not a seat on the substitutes’ bench. Which is why it might be for the best that his time at Manchester United comes to an end.