ESPN FC: What's the Mata?
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has said he does not want to see Juan Mata leaving in the January transfer window.
- Lythell: Oscar stars in New Year win
Mourinho’s apparent lack of faith in Mata has been shown by early public criticism of the midfielder, who has regularly been on the bench in recent months but said earlier this season that he was happy at Stamford Bridge.
The 25-year-old was Chelsea’s Player of the Year last season, and Mourinho said: “I want to keep him. I don’t want him to go. That is my opinion, my wish, but my door is open.
“The club’s door is open too, so when a player wants to speak to us we are there waiting for them. If you are asking do you want the club to sell him, no -- I don’t want to.”
Mourinho played down the apparent dissent displayed by Spanish midfielder Juan Mata when he was substituted eight minutes into the second half of the 3-0 win at Southampton.
"I think his frustration was because of the result because we knew we had to win," he added. "If we don't win this game the difference to the leaders is bigger.
"When he came off the team was losing two points, so I think his frustration was about that. At the end of the game everybody, including him, was happy in the dressing room and everybody was celebrating the victory."
Valencia and Paris Saint-Germain have been linked with a move for Mata, with concerns over his place in the Spain side at the World Cup increasing his eagerness to play regular football.
The same is true of Michael Essien, with the Ghana midfielder’s agent confirming earlier this week that his client may be forced to leave Chelsea in a bid to secure regular action.
“I offer nobody, not Michael, not nobody [playing time],” stated Mourinho. “I understand that players think about national team, the World Cup and playing regularly, but my players have to think of the team before the players. Michael knows that perfectly.”