Ray Wilkins baffled by Mourinho's Mata omission

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Football News

Ex-Chelsea assistant manager Ray Wilkins can't understand why Jose Mourinho didn't call on Juan Mata during the 1-0 Champions League defeat to Basel last night.

Speaking to talkSPORT, the former-Chelsea midfielder admitted he was left confused by the Chelsea boss's decision to leave Mata on the bench - even when the Blues needed to retain possession in the second half.

"Juan Mata gives you great creativity going forward but he is a tremendous retainer of the ball as well and they didn't have that [against Basel]," Wilkins told talkSPORT.

Mourinho opted for Oscar, Willian and Ramires in the attacking midfield roles against the Swiss side, and brought Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne on in the second half.

Mata, who was named on the bench, was not called upon - a decision Wilkins said he didn't expect.

"I thought we would have seen Juan Mata play in the second half, but it wasn't the case," added Wilkins.

"They have got so many creative players in that area that it is obviously a personal preference of Jose's to use the other guys."

Mata has become a regular substitute under Mourinho, despite twice being named the club's player of the year in recent seasons.

The Spaniard has publicly stated he intends to fight for his place in the Chelsea team, but will want first-team football with a World Cup looming next summer.

Chelsea slipped to a 1-0 defeat against Basel thanks to Mohamed Salah's 87th minute goal - but Mourinho's side are still in pole position to qualify from Group E.

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