Last Saturday must have been a bittersweet day for Juan Mata.
The Spanish playmaker scored the all-important equalising goal for Manchester United in the FA Cup final and then went on to lift the famous trophy in front of thousands of jubilant supporters at Wembley.
But less than an hour after the final whistle, he will no doubt have heard the news that Louis van Gaal was on the verge of being sacked - not necessarily a bad thing - and replaced by Jose Mourinho: definitely a bad thing if you’re Juan Mata.
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It was Mourinho, of course, who axed Mata - Chelsea’s two-time Player of the Year - from his starting line-up and sold him to the Red Devils in January 2014.
But has the Portuguese coach’s opinion on Mata changed since then?
Mourinho hasn't changed his opinion on Mata
According to the Telegraph’s Sam Wallace, the answer to that question is a resounding ‘no’.
Apparently, six months away from football hasn’t changed the way Mourinho feels about the diminutive Spanish playmaker who set United back a cool £37.1 million.
The former Chelsea boss, according to the report, still “likes his wingers to be strong and quick, and track back as well as bomb on”.
Mata's future at Old Trafford looks bleak
Mata hasn’t changed his style of play since leaving west London and so his future as a United player suddenly looks very bleak indeed.
There’s a possibility that Mourinho will use Mata as his first-choice number 10, but given the fact United’s next manager will be handed a reported £200 million transfer budget to strength his squad it seems likely that a new playmaker will arrive.
Mata wants to resolve differences with Mourinho
While Mourinho’s opinion on Mata hasn’t changed, it’s understood that the Spaniard wants to resolve his differences with his former manager in order to stay at Old Trafford.
Despite being ostracised from Chelsea’s starting line-up and forced to leave London, a city he enjoyed living in, Mata wants to build bridges with the Portuguese tactician.
According to the Daily Mail, the left-footed maestro is “very happy” living in the Cheshire suburbs while his father recently opened a restaurant in Manchester.
Furthermore, Mata also has an excellent relationship with several members of the United squad, particularly David de Gea and Ander Herrera.
Mourinho will be acutely aware that axing Mata for a second time would not go down well with De Gea, who is still being linked with a move to Real Madrid.
As arguably the world’s best goalkeeper, keeping De Gea happy will be one of Mourinho’s primary objectives when he arrives this summer.
Does Juan Mata have a future at Manchester United under Jose Mourinho? Have your say by leaving a comment below.
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