Juan Mata: Chelsea boss Mourinho can make me a better player

The Spanish playmaker has found opportunities limited under the new Chelsea boss, but feels that his manager can make him a more-rounded performer.

Juan Mata was almost the first name on the Chelsea teamsheet last term when available, but has found opportunities to play limited this term under Jose Mourinho.

With a plethora of talented attacking midfielders at Stamford Bridge, the former Valencia schemer has been forced to bide his time in his bid for regular football.

Despite not being first-choice under Mourinho, Mata has spoken of his admiration for the former Inter and Real Madrid manager.

“I think Jose can help me. I think he’s a manager who analyses everything, not just in our team but in the opposition,” Mata said.

"You can see it in the statistics, you can see it how he re-watches games every time. He’s a manager who likes intensity, who likes pressure, who likes to be a compact team and I think he had success where he was.”

Mourinho has publicly stated that he sees Brazil international Oscar as Chelsea’s first-choice number ten, and as such Mata could well be forced to play from wide if he is to command a starting berth.

Mata stated that he was committed to working hard and would do whatever it took to seal a starting berth.

“We had a conversation in the beginning of the season, we spoke about what he thought and what I thought. I think I am doing what the manager wants me to do,” the Spaniard continued.

"That’s it. To be honest, for me it’s easy to be focusing on what I have to do. I will try to play at my best as I always did and that’s my only target.

“He just told me to play in between the lines and try to control the midfielders and that’s what I try to do.

“I can play as a No 10 on the wing as I did in first two seasons here. I will play wherever he demands. I want to do the same job as I did in the last two seasons.”

Despite having to mainly watch on from the sidelines this season, Mata is obviously a fans’ favourite in west London. This was demonstrated as the Stamford Bridge faithful gave the Spaniard a standing ovation as he warmed up in the recent Champions League defeat to Basel.

“I got emotional and all the stands were cheering me. It is just the beginning right now, we have eight months to go and I believe in myself more than ever.

“It is nice to feel the people are behind you and supporting you. I feel really loved, by my team-mates, by the club, by the supporters.

"In the dressing room we are friends, all of them they are speaking to me, ‘Be patient, be calm, we know how good you are’. That is very important to me.”

Mata could well be in line to feature against Tottenham at White Hart Lane today, after putting in a competent performance against Swindon in the Capital One Cup in midweek.

image: © Wshjackson

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