As Chelsea kicked-off their FA Cup match at Stamford Bridge against Stoke City, a number of Chelsea fans were still showing their appreciation for Juan Mata through using signs and cardboard cut-outs.
One fan in particular adorned the sign ‘Thank you Mata we will never forget 10’ – showing just how much he will be missed by some at Stamford Bridge.
Business was usual on the pitch – as Chelsea comfortably held off the challenge of Stoke City to run out 1-0 winners and set up a mouth-watering tie in the next round with Manchester City at the Etihad stadium.
However, Mourinho – who was celebrating his 51st birthday, didn’t look particularly comfortable as Chelsea could and should have scored more – and the Portuguese certainly didn’t want a repeat of what happened when these two sides met in the league.
Despite scoring just the one goal, Chelsea’s three attacking midfield players showed endeavour and quality throughout.
The chosen three were Oscar, Hazard and Schurrle. Between them they made nine key passes, 18 successful dribbles and took ten shots – one finding the net and two more crashing off the woodwork.
With Oscar’s fellow Brazilian Willian and new signing Mohamed Salah also in the ranks, it made perfect sense to sell Mata to Man Utd for a reported £37m – even if it was to a Premier League rival.
Chelsea’s deeper midfielder Frank Lampard acknowledges the rich attacking options available to Jose Mourinho – and speaking after the game, was understanding of the sale of the ‘fantastic’ Mata:
“Juan Mata is absolutely fantastic player, but more than that he's an absolutely great lad and we wish him all the best personally.”
“The difficult thing here is having so many quality players, and Oscar has been fantastic this year as has (Eden) Hazard.”
“Willian's shown that and we've got so many riches in that position.”
As the transfer window draws to an end, it seems that the Blues have arguably made the best moves during the month and they will be confident of finishing the season with a bang.