Following back-to-back defeats midweek and confused fans demanding answers, the ‘Special One’ has finally shed light on the exile of Juan Mata from his starting eleven.
The two-time Chelsea Player of the Year was a vital player for the Blues before the summer arrival of Mourinho, playing in 64 matches last term as the club lifted the Europa League trophy.
But the second reign of the Portuguese tactician, who has publicly marked Oscar as his preferred central playmaker, has spelt bad news for Mata.
“In this moment, Oscar is my number 10 and, if anyone tells me Oscar has not been Chelsea's best player this season, I'd have to disagree. I have to prove to the fans that I am good. Now [Mata] must do the same," asserted Mourinho.
Last season Juan Mata and Eden Hazard formed a formidable attacking trio alongside Oscar, but with the Brazilian penned in as the new central playmaker, the Chelsea boss requires a more defensive work ethic from his wide men.
“I'm not ready to ask Oscar to track opposing full-backs. Brazil has more talented players in the No10 position than any other country in the world, and he plays there for the national team, so I want to build with Oscar as my No10,” said Mourinho.
“I want the other two players, from the side, to adapt to that reality and learn how to do things they were not ready to do before”.
It is only natural for newly installed managers to tweak their squad and tactics to their liking and after returning to Stamford Bridge after leaving in 2007, the ‘Special One’ wants his second era to flourish in style. Although tactical alterations can be difficult and time-consuming to implement, Mourinho insists that his inherited crop of players are willing to cooperate with most of his philosophies.
"The players are open to some of the changes, and not so open to others because this is more difficult. If I'm a defender I want to play low block, with no space behind me,” said the 50-year-old.
“If I'm an attacking player I'd prefer to play without a position, without certain responsibilities, and with others behind me to cover so I don't need to worry about [tracking back].”
“It's about changing mentality. It takes a bit of time. But it won't take five, six, seven years. I promise."
The former Real Madrid, Inter and Porto manager has endured a rather turbulent start to his second tenure at Chelsea. His side currently sit sixth in the Premier League table after succumbing to a shock 1-0 defeat at Everton last Saturday.
In their return to Europe’s elite club competition after crashing out of the group stage last season, the Blues kicked off their Champions League campaign with a hugely disappointing 2-1 loss to Swiss side FC Basel at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea take on Fulham at Stamford Bridge in the west London derby this Saturday and despite Mourinho’s harsh comments, it will intriguing to see if Juan Mata will see any game time for the Blues.
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