• Premier League

Mata part of Mourinho's plans at Chelsea

ESPN staff
July 29, 2013
Juan Mata was Chelsea's standout player from the previous campaign © AP

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has revealed his vision for Juan Mata in his new-look team - as he moved to dispel the theory that the Blues Player of the Year from last season does not fit into his long-terms plans at Stamford Bridge.

After Chelsea officials denied suggestions that their initial offer to sign Wayne Rooney from Manchester United earlier this month included the proposal of Mata being included as part-exchange in a potential deal, Mourinho has described how the club's No.10 will fit into his line-up.

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"I have my idea about where and how he produces better and where he has more difficulty," Mourinho told the Chelsea website when asked about Mata.

"I like very much a right-sided player to be left-footed. I started with [Arjen] Robben and [Damien] Duff and I kept that going at Inter with [Goran] Pandev, and at Real Madrid with [Angel] Di Maria and [Mesut] Ozil.

"I like the wingers to come inside and on the left we have a lot - [Eden] Hazard, [Victor] Moses, [Kevin] De Bruyne. Juan is the only player we have to do that on the right, but I also think he is very comfortable playing a No.10 role [behind the striker], so between these two positions he has a lot to give to the team.

"I always say to these creative players that if you have more than the others, you have to do more than the others. If you have this ability, you have to use this ability.

"If you do it with one objective, to score goals or to create goals, do it. If you lose the ball then no problem, because you had a good objective in your mind, you wanted to score goals or you wanted to produce goals."

Mourinho believes he has the creative firepower required ahead of the new season, but he has warned the likes of Hazard and Mata that he will not allow them to rest on their laurels so long as he is their manager.

"I am not the kind of guy that makes life easy for the great players," he added. "If they are great they have to give more than the others, if they are great they cannot be happy with a few great things that they do.

"Hazard has a lot of talent, as everybody knows, and now he has to move from great talent to great numbers because football is about numbers. He has to transform his great talent into many goals, many assists, many winning goals, many goals in big matches. I am ready to help him, and he must be ready too.

"These players that make the difference, I never tell them you cannot do this and you cannot do that. You can do anything because you have more talent so go and score goals, go and produce."

There are doubts over whether Mata and his Spanish colleague Fernando Torres will feature in Chelsea's opening game of the season against Hull next month, with both set to play for Spain in Ecuador a few days before the start of the Premier League campaign.

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