Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has insisted that he expects Spanish midfielder Juan Mata to stay at the club and wants him to fight for his place.
The former Chelsea playmaker was sold to Man Utd in January 2014 under Jose Mourinho for a reported fee of £37.1 million and several reports claim that Mata will once again be on the move after the Portuguese coach’s arrival at Man Utd this summer.
But Mourinho has stated that ‘there is place’ for Mata in the Man Utd squad for his debut campaign in charge of the Red Devils.
Mourinho said: “He’s here and he works hard. He knows that I know he is a good player and he has space in the squad. Until August 31 the market is open for every one of my players that is not happy, but to be fair I think he is [happy].
“I think he is happy and I am not expecting him to ask to leave. I am expecting him to do what he is doing now, which is to fight for a place.
“In the end there will be space for everyone, we have 38 matches in the Premier League, we expect to play a lot of them in the Europa League and domestic cups so in a squad of, let’s say, 22 players, there will be a space for everyone. So, yes, there is a space for Juan.”
Mata, who netted six goals and provided five assists last season under Louis van Gaal, had won back-to-back Player of the Year awards at Chelsea in 2012 and 2013 before the return of Mourinho at the Stamford Bridge.
A large set of fans at Chelsea were disappointed to see their star midfielder leave for a direct rival, but Mourinho has claimed it was the Spaniard’s decision to end his three-year spell at the London-based club since he wanted to play regular football in his preferred No. 10 role.
“First of all, I think maybe all of you misunderstood what happened in our previous club because I never told Mata to leave. I never pressed the club to sell him,” Mourinho added.
“It was his decision and only his decision, and I don’t like players that want to leave. That’s why I think every player has a price because if one day a player wants to leave it is because he does not want to be with us.
“If the player doesn’t want to be with us, goodbye – be happy where you want to go. Juan at our previous club was not so happy because he was not my first choice at that time. He wanted to play every game.
“He had a fantastic offer from a big club like Man United, he wanted to leave. My previous club had a great offer, we thought that was financially very much acceptable.”