Jose Mourinho and Juan Mata have a somewhat interesting history.
It’s no secret that Mourinho isn’t the Spaniard’s biggest fan, after selling him to Manchester United while he was Chelsea boss back in 2014.
And yesterday, their relationship hit an all time low, after Jose subbed off Mata just 27 minutes after putting him on in the Community Shield clash with Leicester City.
The former Valencia man didn’t seem to take it too well either, and while Mourinho was quick to comfort his player on the touchline, everyone jumped to conclusions that Mata would be sold (again) by his manager.
After the game, Mourinho explained his actions, and fans of Mata might try and take some comfort from it.
Speaking to BT Sport after United’s 2-1 win, Jose said:
I did something that was not nice to do which was take off Mata in the last minute – now he understands what I do, he’s fine.
I couldn’t take off Fellaini or Ibra. Fellaini and Ibra they were very important to be on the pitch for Rory Delap’s throw-ins, and we want to win the game.
The rules allow six changes, I had made five and I wanted to stop the game.
I need to take off the smallest player because we were expecting a lot of long balls. He is the smallest one.
But I think he played very well. He gave me exactly what I needed. We want to win and everyone is happy in the end.
Jose sent on 5’10” Henrikh Mkhitaryan as Mata’s replacement – hardly a giant, or someone known for his aerial dominance – in what is a typical Mourinho tactic.
And at the end of the day, United won the game, so fans can’t be too annoyed that their lovable midfielder was given the hook – though quite if he’ll be wearing a United shirt come the end of August remains to be seen.
Welcome to the Mourinho era.