Liverpool legend: Chelsea display is EXACTLY why Juan Mata left - why?

Juan Mata

Ray Houghton believes that, if Mourinho still had Manchester United playmaker at his disposal, he wouldn't have even featured at Anfield.

Chelsea have attracted censure for the manner in which they achieved victory over Liverpool yesterday, Sunday, with some commentators implying Jose Mourinho is guilty of anti-football, however, for Kop icon Ray Houghton - who won two league titles and two FA Cups with the Reds - the Portuguese is fulfilling the role his club's owner will be asking of him, chiefly; to be a winner.

Furthermore, Mourinho shocked the British football industry when he obliged Manchester United's opportunistic bid for Spanish playmaker Juan Mata, yet Houghton explains that even if the player was not sold in the winter transfer window he still would not have been selected for action against Liverpool largely because he is not disciplined enough to do the work Jose wants.

"Brendan Rodgers says it's not difficult to organise a defence to play like that and he's absolutely right, but what is difficult is to have the players with the football intelligence to buy into that philosophy [and be able to administrate it]," said Houghton in the Sky Sports studio earlier today, Monday.

Mata was seldom entrusted with full 90 minute appearances under Mourinho's stewardship at Chelsea - playing just one full match, a League Cup outing against Swansea City away - a stark contrast to how he is utilised at Manchester United when David Moyes fielded him for the full 90 eight of the 12 times he was able to use him for Premier League duty.

One of the reasons Mourinho gave as to why Mata was not selected as frequently as Eden Hazard, Oscar or Willian was down to the fact that he was not as hard a worker without the ball, in defensive positions. Against Liverpool on Sunday, Andre Schurrle and Mohamed Salah provided, at times, a bank of six men in defence as the attackers did not neglect their duties in their own third.

Houghton was asked whether this simple reason, not being able to fully buy into Mourinho's philosophy of unit-working, was why Mata was sold: "Absolutely that is why Mata left," he said.

"Mata would not have played yesterday as he couldn't have done what Schurrle did and what Salah did and every Chelsea player buys what the manager asks them to do in that particular game.

"They are bright and intelligent footballers so they're going to do exactly what he wants. They are disciplined enough to stay in defence and not expose any spaces."

Register for CHELSEA team updates

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for LIVERPOOL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch