Juan Mata's future at Manchester United was in doubt from the moment Jose Mourinho took over as manager on May 27.
Given the pair's chequered history - Mourinho sold Mata at Chelsea to the Red Devils in 2014 - many feared for the Spaniard and predicted he would suffer the same fate this summer.
And yet, in a dramatic turn around, Mata has become one of United's most important players this season and given his manager no choice but to start him.
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Very few players at Old Trafford can lay claim to being indispensable, especially so given their recent form, but Mata certainly can.
His feud with Mourinho appears to be over but, ahead of Thursday's clash with Fenerbahce in the Europa League, the attacking midfielder discussed for the first time how he felt when Mourinho was named as manager.
"When the manager came in, I was always thinking the same as I always have: I am going to give my best, I believe in myself and I think this can work out," he said, per the Telegraph.
"It is a professional relationship [I have with Mourinho]. That is it. That is why, when so many things were said about was going to happen when the new manager arrived, in my mind I had it clear.
"It is difficult to control everything that goes out and your friends and family are ringing to know what is going on but I always told them the same thing: 'Listen, I am the one that knows what is going on, and I know that nothing is going on'."
Reports suggested Mourinho sat down with Mata to discuss his future soon after arriving at the Theatre of Dreams, but the Spain international insists no such conversation took place.
"The manager didn’t sit down with me, no," he added. "I do feel an important part of this team.
"Since I came to Manchester United, we had ups and downs but I always felt an important player under any manager, and I feel important now. But we didn’t have any conversations."
While two goals and one assist in the Premier League this season is a poor return from Mata, it's his versatility and creativity that makes him so integral.
The Spanish No.10 keeps United ticking and, more importantly, offers a calming presence both in the centre of the park and on the flanks.
Former United defender Phil Neville is a big fan of Mata's and believes Mourinho made the right decision by keeping him.
"I was here [at Manchester United] when we actually bought Juan Mata," Neville told Sky Sports.
"He is never injured, he provides a lot of assists, he plays in two or three different positions, and he scores important goals.
"I actually thought he would be the first out of the door when Jose came, but he's actually becoming one of the most important players."
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