Why has the lack of Juan Mata so far this season been the subject of talk? Because of the impact it might have on Chelsea's future. Obviously, there's some merit to the idea that Mata can and must improve defensively in order to be part of a balanced team; the fear is that someone might take it personally, scuppering the effort and denying the Blues their player of the past two seasons.
We've already seen that Mourinho's happy with Mata's progress, but might the player not take offence to his supposed mistreatment at the manager's hands? It didn't seem likely -- Mata's professionalism isn't really in doubt -- but that didn't mean it was impossible. An extended set of quotes dispelling that possibility, however slight, wouldn't exactly go amiss. Fortunately, one such set has come along:
I will play wherever he demands. I am young and can still improve. I want to do the same as I did in the last two seasons. My dad always said if you are left-footed improve with your right. I have to improve defensively, too. Every single player has to. To be the perfect player is very difficult but I have tried throughout my career to improve a lot.
I think Jose can help me. Every manager can try to improve their players. It's his job to bring the best out of his players. Last season was the best in my career, but I could still have done better. Jose's a manager who analyses everything, not just in our team. He's a manager who likes intensity, who likes pressure. We have eight months to go to the World Cup and I believe in myself more than ever.
-Juan Mata. Source: Sky Sports.
I love Juan Mata so much.