Juan Mata's influence under Jose Mourinho and at Man United compared

Published 1 Comments

Football News

It was always going to be interesting to see how Jose Mourinho would use Juan Mata at Manchester United after it was the Portuguese who found him surplus to requirements at Stamford Bridge.

And Man United fans were immediately concerned after the Spaniard was substituted just 27 minutes after coming on in Mourinho's first competitive game in charge, during the Community Shield.

The boss' explanation: Mata was the shortest player in the team and Mourinho was fearful of high balls being chucked into the box towards Leicester's big men in the final few minutes.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan came on and United won the game - so surely his decision was vindicated, right?

Not all fans and pundits saw it that way and judged it as a very early hint that Mata could find his playing time more limited this season but more worryingly, that his time at Old Trafford could be coming to an end.

After all, that was what drove Mata out of Stamford Bridge in 2014 and there is the general consensus that the Spaniard will not be Mourinho's first choice once again.

However, after taking a closer look at Mata's key statistics under Mourinho at Chelsea and comparing them with his influence at Old Trafford last season, there has been a notable difference that has gone under the radar.

Out of the 13 appearances Mata made in his final campaign at Chelsea, he played the full 90 minutes just twice.

He was still able to create 30 chances, at a rate of 2.3 per game, and pick up two assists.

At Man United, he has become a fan favourite and played some part in all 38 Premier League matches last season.

Surprisingly, he created 53 scoring opportunities, at a rate of 1.6 per game, with five assists.

Mata was even making more key passes at his old side (2.15 every game under Mourinho vs 1.6 for the Red Devils)

He can claim to have scored six goals last term, compared to a frustrating zero in his final six months at his previous club, but the fact he is now creating fewer chances might set one or two alarm bells ringing.

If anything, though, it should actually make United supporters even more excited about Mourinho's reign.

Louis van Gaal's slow and patient style actually blunted Mata's effectiveness more than most of us thought. Much like the rest of the squad, the previous regime stifled the 28-year-old's creative influence.

The added toil of playing in the Europa League means Mata will inevitably get opportunities this season. Both he and United fans might have to be patient but in Mourinho's quicker and more direct Old Trafford outfit, Mata should find more space to dictate proceedings.

Writing off Mata at this stage would be far too premature. The Spaniard has been United's most creative player since he arrived at the club and for a good reason. On his day, he is still a game changer for Jose Mourinho and Man United.

Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE:

Wayne Rooney
Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Premier League
Juan Mata
Manchester United
Jose Mourinho

Article Comments

Read more

Report author of article

Please let us know if you believe this article is in violation of our editorial policy, please only report articles for one of the following reasons.

Report author


This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

Want more content like this?

Like our GiveMeSport Facebook Page and you will get this directly to you.

Already Subscribed to Facebook, don't ask me again

Follow GiveMeSport on Twitter and you will get this directly to you.

Already Following, don't ask me again

Like our GiveMeSport Page and you will get this directly to you.

Already Subscribed to G+, don't ask me again