Life hasn’t been easy for Chelsea star Juan Mata ever since Jose Mourinho returned to the Stamford Bridge hot-seat in the summer.
The talented Spaniard was undoubtedly the best player for Chelsea last season, but under Mourinho, he has been given a sort-of cold treatment so far.
Mata hasn’t featured regularly for the Blues this season while the Portuguese has openly stated the Spain international needs to adapt to his systems and game style, in order to get regular games.
The 25-year-old has been asked to prove his worth and was given a starting line-up berth against Swindon Town, where he performed brilliantly, earning the Blues a comfortable 2-0 victory. He said:
“It’s easy for me to focus on football and just do what I have to do. The only thing I have in my mind is to keep working, keep training hard, keep improving and keep scoring and making assists. That’s what I did.
“I’ve played in three positions. In the beginning I was playing as a left winger, then on the right and last season as a No 10. I feel comfortable playing in any offensive position.
“It’s better if a player can play in lots of positions rather than just one.”
That is what Mata feels of course, but whether will Mourinho take note of his versatility, is the major question here. With the use of more inverted wingers these days, it is highly unlikely that Mata would be shifted on the left wing, where he excelled in his early days at Valencia.
Likewise, Mourinho clearly mentioned that Oscar is his preferred no 10 and at this moment there are no such reasons why that should change and force Jose to draft Mata in there.
The truth is Mourinho has the luxury of an avalanche of midfielders at his disposal and for the right wing role he has specialized players already like Kevin De Bruyne, Andre Schurrle et al. Of course, Mourinho does want Mata to try out the wide roles but how effective it will be, remains to be seen.
Several critics have even questioned that is Oscar a better no 10 player than Juan Mata? In that case, is Mourinho simply wasting a great talent? Mata has no options rather to work hard and impress his boss, but whether Mourinho takes note of his versatility is a different question altogether.