One of the reasons Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho reportedly sold Juan Mata to Manchester United in January 2014 was because he wasn’t mobile enough - but, if that was the case, these latest stats suggest the Portuguese coach was wrong to offload the Spaniard.
Of all the Manchester United players to have made 15 or more Premier League appearances this season, Mata has covered the most ground on average per match - clocking up an impressive 11.3km each game, according to the Telegraph.
Next on the list is Mata’s compatriot Ander Herrera, who averages 11km a match, while Marouane Fellaini is in third place with 10.9km.
Michael Carrick is fourth on the list, followed by Daley Blind, Wayne Rooney, Radamel Falcao, Ashley Young, Robin van Persie and Angel di Maria.
That Mata is top of the pile will come as a slight surprise to fans of both Manchester United and Chelsea.
Mata was not a 'Mourinho-type' player
The 27-year-old, while clearly a technically-gifted playmaker, is by no means the quickest player in Louis van Gaal’s squad - in fact, he might be amongst the slowest.
Mourinho sold the former Valencia star because of his inability to help out Chelsea defensively, combined with the fact Oscar was flourishing in the No. 10 role.
Mata was named as Chelsea’s Player of the Year in each of his two full seasons with the west London outfit - scoring 32 goals 118 appearances in the process - but as soon as Mourinho’s Stamford Bridge return was confirmed, fears grew that the classy attacking midfielder would be one of the big-name casualties.
And six months after Mourinho returned to Chelsea, Mata was sold to Manchester United after David Moyes gave the green light to sign the player.
Mata has finally convinced Van Gaal
For the majority of this season it appeared that Mata was failing to convince Van Gaal who, like Mourinho, wants disciplined players with the desire to help out both going forwards and defensively.
Following a lengthy spell on the subs bench after the turn of the New Year, Mata was handed a start against Tottenham in mid-March - the game that kick-started United’s recent run of excellent form.
A week later he scored two fantastic goals in a 2-1 win over Liverpool at Anfield, before also netting in the 4-2 win over local rivals Manchester City earlier this month.
Was Jose Mourinho right to sell Juan Mata to Manchester United last year? Have your say in the comments below!
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