Search icon


15th Feb 2017

Juan Mata reveals the simple instruction Jose Mourinho has given him

Simple but effective

Robert Redmond

Juan Mata is on course to record his best season at Manchester United.

The Spanish midfielder has scored in his last two games, against Leicester City and Watford, and has nine goals so far this season.

He needs just one more to match his total from last year and the previous season, and is the club’s second highest goalscorer after Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Mata is having a good season by any standards, but particularly so given many expected him to be on his way out of Old Trafford when Jose Mourinho arrived.

Mourinho allowed Mata leave for United in 2014, when the pair were at Chelsea, and many expected something similar to happen when the Portuguese replaced Louis van Gaal.

However, Mata has excelled under his former manager, and has made 34 appearances already this season. He is having probably his best season in a red shirt.

The Spanish midfielder has revealed the simple advice Mourinho has given him, which doesn’t chime with the perception of the former Real Madrid manager as a defensive coach.

Mourinho wants Mata to get into the box more often, and it is having an effect.

When asked by United Review if Mourinho has tasked him with getting into the opposition penalty area whenever possible, Mata said:

“Well yes, I think he appreciates some different qualities from different players, so whenever I play I always try to be in that position that allows me to create a chance or finish one.

“Sometimes you score, sometimes you don’t, but it’s important to always be in the right positions. I try to play with the ball – possession, passes, assists – but scoring goals has also been a big part of my career.”

It might seem like an obvious instruction from Mourinho, but the statistics show it’s having a positive effect.

Catch up with this week’s episode of 888sport Football Friday Live