After a summer filled with transfer rumors, former Chelsea player Juan Mata and former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho have become all buddy-buddy once again at Manchester United. Or should we say for the first time ever? It's not like Mata decided to leave Chelsea in January of 2014 because he was getting along so well with the boss...
But if you're Jose Mourinho in this situation, it's time for a bit of revisionist history. Malcolm Gladwell would be proud.
"I didn't sell him because my job is not to buy and sell. My job is to coach and my job is to work on the pitch. My job is to advise my boards on the transfer policy. I don't buy and I don't sell and I never did."
Yes, technically that's true. Mourinho's job wasn't to broker the deals (just as no Chelsea head coach's has been for some time now), but he certainly had a very large part in players leaving. In a pattern that we saw play out multiple times, a player who had been marginalized on the bench had decided to leave and get minutes elsewhere, especially with the prospect of World Cup squad selections looming. Mourinho did not press the eject button, but he did pack the parachutes.
"Secondly it was that he was one who asked to leave and when a player asks to leave I think you always have to think twice."
One would have to think this isn't willful ignorance, but rather than just some classic Jose spin. He often got a bit too much credit for the so-called mind games, but in this case, he's just trying to do what he thinks is best for his team at this moment. Mata didn't fit his idea of football at Chelsea — here's friend of the blog Sebastian Chapuis talking about that back in the day — but apparently, these ideas are vastly different now!
"The third point is that my idea of football, with the squad I had at Chelsea, with the objectives we had at Chelsea is one thing. The football I want to play at Man United, the profile of my squad and what I want to do in this club is a complete different situation. My project at Chelsea he was a good player, my project at Manchester United is a very good player."
"At Man United I have more players to play transitional football. Football is the main objective, we are not so physically strong and compact and playing in a defensive block like we did when we won the title (with Chelsea) in 2014/15. The football we want to play here is different. We are in the beginning of that process. I think Mata is very adept to do that with his qualities. We need players with these qualities. He has found a very good natural habitat."
-Jose Mourinho; source: Telegraph
Something to keep in mind in case the Mata-to-Chelsea rumors pop back up in January.
Bonus fun fact: Juan Mata has now been a Manchester United player longer than he had been a Chelsea player.