Juan Mata and Jose Mourinho
Juan Mata admits he was hurt by the “lies” spread regarding his future once Jose Mourinho took charge at Manchester United.
Having been moved out of Chelsea by the Portuguese in January 2014, the pair reunited at Old Trafford in the summer of 2016.
It was immediately suggested that Mata’s days could be numbered, with Mourinho reported to be unconvinced by the Spain international’s ability to fit into his preferred system.
Both men have rubbished any talk of a rift, though, with a testing situation having been overcome by presenting a united front where it matters most – on the field.
Mata told Mundo Deportivo of the exit talk: “I faced it naturally.
“It’s true I received calls from concerned friends and family but I knew that I didn’t have any personal problems with Mourinho at Chelsea.
“What hurt me is that they spread rumours and lies about what did not happen.”
Mata has been a regular throughout Mourinho’s time with the Red Devils, with his value to the cause recognised by the triggering of a 12-month extension to his contract.
With that situation having been resolved, the pair are now chasing down more major honours, with a desire from both sides to get their hands on the Premier League title.
World Cup winner Mata added: “I’ve been in England for a few years and I’ve been lucky to win many titles but the only one I have not raised has been the Premier League, so I hope to do so at some point because it would be fantastic.”
United will need key men performing at the peak of their powers if they are to challenge for that prize in the future, while interest in star turns must be fended off.
Among those to currently be generating plenty of transfer gossip is David de Gea, with links to Real Madrid refusing to go away.
Mata is unsure what the future holds for a fellow Spaniard, but doubts the speculation will prove to be a distraction for one of the finest goalkeepers in world football.
He said when quizzed on whether he expects De Gea to still be at United next season: “I’m not a fortune teller. Nobody knows.
“He is happy, calm, and I imagine that he will not think for a second of this but in the present.”
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