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Jose Mourinho’s Decision to Exile Juan Mata Has Been Proven Correct

In August, several pundits (myself included) felt that Jose Mourinho had to integrate Juan Mata into Chelsea and build around the talented Spaniard to have any chance of success. The decision to freeze Mata out of the preferred starting XI led to numerous newspaper and blog columns slating the decision, which added to some very uneasy times among a large portion of Chelsea supporters.

But like so many times in the past, Mourinho has bested his critics, proving he could forge a winning side with his principles and his types of players and forgo the conventional wisdom. With his controversial selection policies, The Special One has fired Chelsea into the catbirds seat in the Barclays Premier League title race. While the Blues currently sit third in the table, two points from top, they have six of their remaining eight fixtures against top sides at Stamford Bridge as compared to Arsenal who have four of eight at home and Manchester City who have just one of eight at the Etihad Stadium.

The style Mourinho has long advocated involves two-way players who can move the ball quickly and also defend well. Towards the end of the summer window, the acquisition of Willian from cash-starved Anzhi gave the Chelsea Manager an attacking option that fits his style. Blending Willian into the team over time was always going to cost Mata and also André Schürrle playing time. Oscar has embraced Mourinho’s philosophy, lingering on the ball less than last season while defending with a purpose.

Mata’s next move is being closely watched by the media. Will the player force a move to the continent this January to get playing time and secure his spot in Spain’s World Cup squad? Or will he sit at Chelsea and wait for another chance, given the pile up of fixtures remaining and the unmistakable quality he can still bring to a football pitch?

What cannot be disputed is that in his second stint at Chelsea, Jose Mourinho has improved the side while stamping his authority on the team. Juan Mata may have been the Blues most accomplished player the past two seasons, but that was for a side that finished 6th and 3rd in the Premier League, not the title challenging team that Mourinho now possesses. The Special One has proven once again that winning in his book trumps style and critical accolades.

If Chelsea win the 2013-14 Premier League title, we can say Mourinho did it his way.

Editor’s note: For the latest Blues news, analysis and opinion, visit the Chelsea team page.

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  1. Pakapala

    January 3, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    Shouldn’t an article like this wait to see the end of the season before claiming that Jose Mourinho was right?

    • yusuf

      January 8, 2014 at 2:35 am

      Mata was d main man till the end of the last 2 seasons, chelsea were number 6!!! Mata was the main man till the end of last season, chelsea were no 3!!! If Chelsea finishes 1st or 2nd, Mou is certainly right!!!

  2. MadeKings

    January 3, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    evening everyone

  3. Adebayo

    January 3, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    Though majority of fan are not happy including myself but for the fact dat jose is getting d result there is nothing we fan can do about it so we should jst allow him to do it his way afterall he is in charge

  4. yusuf

    January 3, 2014 at 1:36 am

    Its obvious mata cant get into the team You cant base your team on past statistics or form The match against Liverpool Mata didn’t play but chelsea were the better side created chances and played the best football chelsea have played in years also against Southampton before Mata was substituted chelsea were struggling immediately after the inclusion of oscar and Willian chances came and chelsea got the breakthrough chelsea looked more comfortable and chelsea Won convincingly clearly oscar Willian and Hazard are the best attacking trio chelsea have you cant say because mata has been chelsea best player for the past two seasons he has to play and talking about mou style of play it’s his style guardiola style is possessive football why not tell guardiola to play the way mou does lets see How he will do and which do you prefer attractive football or success

  5. balame samuel

    January 3, 2014 at 1:17 am

    Is it a crime for a manager to drop a player whose style of play does not fit into the managers game plan.All those murmurers out there should stop pouring dirty water on Jos.

  6. jemba

    January 3, 2014 at 12:24 am

    Let me tel u cheseafc fan that josy ip nm longer the winer is the looser and destroye look how the stly he used in madrid he desroy are the talant player he took adibay esien those are his clas not player like mata he is kungfoo stly

  7. Emmanuel

    January 2, 2014 at 11:43 pm

    Every coach has his style. Mourinho’s style is let’s all defend and counter while Guardiola and other coaches rely on possessive football to attain their targets. If Guardiola or any other coach feels a player does not fit into his system of play after being given the opportunities, such a player is to be benched as simple as that. Is Mourinho the first to do this? Were Lampard and Terry not fizzled out by Benetez? When did Mata become the god of Chelsea? All this Mata madness is coming from Chelsea sympathisers, unfaithful fans and anti Chelseas who are bent on ruining the resurgence of Chelsea under the stewardship of the only Special One in football. To those ones, watch out because Chelsea will not make a mistake like Madrid where players like Casilas, Ramos, and co subotaged him because they thought they were superior to their coach with support from some Madrid legends who could not stand the sight of their hard earned reputation on the blinks of being out-classed by the Special One’s crop of soldiers. Thank you!

  8. wilfred

    January 2, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    i support jose way of play because if mata cant suit jose its time for him 2 leave you can even compare mata and hazard last season and this season tell me who has improved than the other its time for mata to move on.

    • Aaron

      January 2, 2014 at 9:22 pm

      It is time for him to move on, certainly, to a side that doesn’t feel it needs to employ seek-and-destroy tactics and a culture of cheating to win silverware.

      Not sure if you’re aware of this or if you care, but Mourinho is a textbook narcissist and almost certainly a sociopath. Great at what he does, certainly charismatic, but would throw his own mother under a bus if it furthered his ambitions.

      • yusuf

        February 7, 2014 at 9:32 am

        Nonsense, does a coach have to alter his tactics cos of a player??? Did Pep not sell Yaya Toure who is one of the best midfielders now??? Was he not better than Busquets when he was sold, he was sold because his style of play doesn’t fit peps. A coach has the right to drop any player, its either the player adapts or leave not the coach risk changing tactics just to accommodate him! Absolute nonsense

  9. Aaron

    January 2, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    The only reason he won’t have Mata in the side is because he’s a fairly honest player who doesn’t often dive and never seems to kick lumps out of opposing players. Hazard and Oscar, as talented as they are, have also shown a willingness to cheat themselves into dangerous positions and have the requisite nastiness that Mourinho loves.

  10. Jim Smith

    January 2, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    It was a nice win yesterday, bringing Oscar and Willian off the bench was a good call. Lets be clear though, the style of play Oscar is being forced to play is unattainable for any long period. The kamikaze style works in short bursts, never sustainable. Nor was the substitution a like for a like. Mata was, for the most part, relegated to wing play with Hazard playing in the middle as play-maker. Oscar came on and went to the middle of the field. Have to agree with the prior note, good managers are able to get the talent on the roster to win. Not Jose. In summary, Chelsea will do well, but I cannot see how banishing a talent like Mata helps the cause

    • Peter

      January 2, 2014 at 6:31 pm

      Remarkable that a player who has appeared in 13 out of 20 EPL matches this season could be said to have been “banished.” Between December 1 and January 1 he made 6 (!) appearances. Clearly Jose Mourinho plans to win the league without the help of Juan Mata – or you might want to reconsider your position.

      I was in the stands on Mata’s debut and watched him score Chelsea’s third goal in a 3-1 win over Norwich. I love the guy, and at many points in the previous two seasons he made incredible contributions – beautiful passes, great goals. But this season Juan has failed to make a mark – and he’s had plenty of opportunities. As has been said, his defensive abilities can’t compare to Oscar or Hazard – at least not yet. Hopefully Juan will realize that the opportunity is still there if he fights for it and gets the results. If he can’t take that attitude, then he definitely should move on, however sadly.

  11. insert name here

    January 2, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    This headline seems to be suggesting that there is only one way to win -With Mata or without Mata- and that Mourinho has “been proven correct” by finding its without Mata but that is nonsense. I dont think anyone doubted Mourinho would be successful doing it his way. The real point is that he cannot fit a world class player like Mata into his management style. Mourinho isnt flexible. He lacks imagination. His teams styles are counter attack and rigid, quite boring to watch for the majority of the time. Even at Real he would surrender possession to even the weaker sides and kill them on the break. They scored tonnes of goals but the home fans still werent happy with the style. No one is questioning whether Mourinho can win without Mata, we know he can but the fact that he cannot fit someone with Matas ability and imagination into the side says a lot about Mourinhos style and limits even if he is a world class manager. Mourinho wants players who will do exactly what theyre told, wont risk losing the ball and will track back. Win the percentages and hit teams on the break and then defend defend defend,. He may allow for one flair player but 2/3, no chance. He’ll win like that but it wont be pretty to watch. His teams reflect him, no imagination or ambition to play expansive football but always win win win. The headline is not the point. The point is that he shouldve been able to build a side with Mata, Oscar and Hazard all in it at the same time as they showed a season or so back just how awesome they can be on the pitch together but he cant do it. Its too risky for him. Thats not to say it cant be done though because it can. Pelligrini, Ancelotti, Wenger or Pep would do it but not Mourinho. For him its about results, not style. He hasnt been proved right or wrong. His way works. We all know that.

    • Georgie

      January 2, 2014 at 5:53 pm

      “The point is that he shouldve been able to build a side with Mata, Oscar and Hazard all in it at the same time as they showed a season or so back just how awesome they can be on the pitch together…”

      If they are so awesome on the pitch why couldn’t they finish higher the 6th and 3rd? With Mata running midfield why did Chelsea crash out of CL at the group stage last season while being completely outplayed by Juventus and Shakhtar? Why did Mata disappear in big games on so many occasions? Why did Chelsea have to rely on Drogba and the rest of old guard in their remarkable CL run?

      • Flyvanescence

        January 2, 2014 at 5:59 pm

        A pretty decent point that is.

      • insert name here

        January 2, 2014 at 6:38 pm

        Are you suggesting that people werent raving about the 3 of them??? Chelsea have been mismanaged since losing Ancelotti till getting Mourinho. Thats not Matas fault and doesnt mean the 3 cannot play together.. Thats a simplistic way of lookin at it.. Sure just look at the difference in Man Citys style this season to last with mostly the same players. Mata would get into every other team in the PL, just not the one managed by Mourinho.

        • yusuf

          February 7, 2014 at 9:23 am

          And obviously not man city

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