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'I didn't sell him, my job is not to buy and sell': Mourinho defends treatment of Mata at Chelsea

The Man United manager believes the Spaniard is perfect for his new side having sold him at Chelsea

Mata has become a key part of Mourinho's plans at United.
Mata has become a key part of Mourinho's plans at United.

JOSE MOURINHO HAS claimed that Juan Mata has found his “natural habitat” at Manchester United following recent reports that the Spaniard is set to sign a new contract at Old Trafford.

Despite speculation in the summer that Mourinho could again offload the player he watched depart his former club Chelsea for United in January 2014, Mata has been a key member of the Portuguese’s outfit so far this season, prompting the club to undergo talks over a longer-term deal.

And Mourinho, speaking ahead of Thursday’s crucial Europa League fixture at home to Zorya Luhansk, insisted that Mata has the right qualities to deliver his best for his Manchester United side.

“[Chelsea] were playing in a defensive block when we won the title in 2014-15, and it’s one thing having players for that and another having players trying to play in a different way and we are trying to play in a different way,” said Mourinho.

“He is very adaptive with his qualities. He has found a very good natural habitat with us.”

Mourinho also defended his role in Chelsea’s decision to sell Mata to the Red Devils for £37.5 million in the winter transfer window in 2013-14.

Manchester United v Leicester City - Premier League - Old Trafford The Spaniard has scored two league goals this term. Source: Richard Sellers

“First of all, I didn’t sell him. My job is not to buy and sell. My job is to coach, to work on the pitch and to advise my board about the transfer policy.

“Secondly, it was Juan that asked to leave and when a player asks to leave I think always you have to think twice.

“And the third point is that my idea for football with the squad and objectives we had at Chelsea is one thing, and the squad I have at Man United and the profile and what I try to do with this club is a completely different situation.

“So Juan at Chelsea in my project was one player, and Juan in my project at Man United is another thing.”

Mata bagged a goal and an assist in Saturday’s impressive 4-1 victory over Premier League champions Leicester City at Old Trafford having been chosen in the number 10 position at the expense of club captain Wayne Rooney.

The 28-year-old attacker has 21 months remaining on his current contract, but a new deal could well see him remaining at Old Trafford well into his thirties.

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