Mourinho: Juan Mata in my plans

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Since it was first announced the special one was returning to Chelsea, the rumour mill has been churning. 

One of the most worrying stories to appear in the media was that Jose Mourinho felt Juan Mata wasn't going to be featuring in his plans for the coming season. 

The claim was met with disgust and ridicule by the entire footballing world; how could Mourinho not be salivating at the prospect of having Europe's most productive number 10 conjuring up chances for his team?

The diminutive Spaniard has virtually carried Chelsea over the past two seasons and has always been at the heart of any magic produced by the Blues. 

His stats are little short of mind blowing. In the last two seasons for club and country Mata has directly played a part - by either scoring or providing the assist - in 93 goals in 118 matches. 

Just playing 118 matches in two seasons is impressive enough, but to still be, after all that time, fully fit and firing on all cylinders is incredible.

Mata's form has been so good that nobody could fathom Mourinho's decision to deem him surplus to requirements at Chelsea. Had Mourinho started to lose his marbles? Did he know something we didn't? Or was the rumour merely born from offseason boredom down on Fleet Street? 

Thankfully, Mourinho has put these rumours to bed by not only confirming Mata is vital to his plans for next season, but also, that he has a few tricks up his sleeve aimed at improving what is already a staggering collection of awards, goals and highlight reels El Matador has already accumulated since his 2011 transfer to the club.

"Of course he fits into my plans, I have my idea about him, about where he produces better and where he has more difficulty," Mourinho told Sky Sports. "We will try to help him perform better in those situations.

"I like wingers coming in on the inside for the penetrative movement, for the pass, for the shot. And Juan is the only player we have to do that on the right. 

"On the left we have (Eden) Hazard, Victor Moses, Kevin De Bruyne, Andre Schurrle. Juan is also very comfortable playing as a No10. In between these two positions, he has a lot to give to the team."

Based on these comments it seems the team will be sticking with last season's favoured 4-2-3-1 formation with a triumvirate made of up of Hazard on the left, Oscar in the middle and Mata on the right. 

It was apparent last season that the club was very close to being genuine title contenders but a few final tweaks were required to take that final step. Oscar was being wasted on the wing and the team at times, despite beautiful build up play struggled with the final move into the box. 

The tactics hinted in those comments will allow a much more direct attacking threat without taking away any of the creativity those three bring to the team.

The Portuguese tactician really mastered in the inverted winger system in his title winning season with Real Madrid. Cristiano Ronaldo and Angel Di Maria cutting in from their respective flanks with Marcelo and Alvaro Arbeloa providing the overlap and defensive cover. 

The setup puts a huge responsibility on the full-backs, and so it is good to know Chelsea have indispensable Ashley Cole locking up the left and the very impressive Cesar Azpilicueta solidifying the right.

Ultimately we all know it doesn't matter a huge amount where you put the amigos at the beginning of the match, as within a few minutes they are roaming all over the pitch seeking out a chance to make something happen.

However, Mourinho is likely to employ a little more positional discipline than Roberto Di Matteo and Rafa Benitez did last season. Chelsea fans will get their first chance to see the full squad in action on the 2nd of August against Inter Milan and it will be interesting to see what Mourinho has up his sleeve regarding players like Oscar, David Luiz and Mata.


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