Manchester United veteran Juan Mata has revealed that he had to leave Chelsea in 2014 purely due to tactical incompatibility under Jose Mourinho.
As reported by Tribal Football, Juan Mata has opened up about his departure from Chelsea back in 2014 that saw him join Manchester United for a fee of €45 million. It was reported at the time that the playmaker had a fallout with then Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho, thus forcing him to move to Old Trafford despite two seasons in west London.
However, Mata has suggested that he had left Stamford Bridge purely due to tactical incompatibility under Mourinho, rather than a personal fallout with the Portuguese tactician.
“At the time, it was a bit difficult because [things were great in] 2011/12 and then the next season, which probably was my best season in terms of numbers and games played and enjoying on the pitch, 2012/13. We won the Europa League at the end with Rafa Benítez as a coach and everything was going so well on a personal level.
“And then José arrived, and he had a different way of playing football, or a way that was not perfect for my qualities as a player, and that was it. I was not playing much as I used to play before. There was never a personal problem between us like some people said at the time, but it was a challenge for me,” Mata said, as quoted by Tribal Football.
Although the Spaniard never really managed to replicate his meteoric Chelsea success at Stamford Bridge, he was involved in 13 goals in his debut campaign. Unfortunately for him, the arrival of Mourinho at Man United in 2016 once again saw his form taking a downward trajectory, with the midfielder amassing just over 1,600 minutes of league football during the 2016/17 campaign.
The ex-Chelsea superstar did enjoy a slight improvement in the following season, being directly involved in 8 goals in 28 matches, helping the Red Devils finish second in the league. And although Mourinho did eventually leave Old Trafford in the first half of the 2018/19 campaign, Mata is past his prime.
In fact, the 32-year-old has had worse fortunes under the leadership of Ole Gunnar Solskaer, featuring in just over 2,000 minutes of league football over the past couple of season.
One could, however, make the argument that the United attack has improved significantly during this time, especially with the emergence of players like Mason Greenwood while the likes of Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford have improved considerably.
In the meantime, Mata will still hope to be a part of Solskjaer’s plans in the near future despite the meteoric rise of Bruno Fernandes. The Spaniard has, in fact, produced some excellent performances in recent weeks and is a viable alternative for any attacker playing in the creative role.