Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has reignited rumours linking Juan Mata with an Old Trafford departure by taking off the midfielder after subbing him on against Leicester City.
The 28-year-old came on in the 63rd minute of the 2-1 victory, only to be taken off again in the 93rd minute – after which he didn’t seem too happy with his manager.
In the aftermath of the victory, Mourinho, however, tried to explain the move as a need to bring on a taller player for the Spaniard because the Foxes were bombarding the box in the final minutes.
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Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who came on for Mata, is 5ft 10in compared to the former Chelsea man’s 5ft 7in.
Mourinho sold Mata soon after he arrived for his second stint at Chelsea, and he has been linked with a move to Everton this summer.
The Spanish midfielder certainly didn’t appear happy after being taken off despite starting on the substitutes’ bench.
However, the ex-Valencia man did seem far happier when it came to lifting the Community Shield after the 2-1 victory over Leicester.
Last month there were several reports suggesting that Mata has been informed by Jose Mourinho he does have a future at Old Trafford but must accept the competition for starting place at United is quite fierce now.
The former Chelsea playmaker seemed almost destined to leave the Theatre of Dreams this summer since Mourinho was announced as Louis van Gaal’s replacement.
With the likes of Wayne Rooney, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Adnan Januzaj, Memphis Depay and Anthony Martial all competing for spots behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Mata must accept he is not likely to command a regular spot. Mata managed to thrive in the final third under the tactics of Louis van Gaal and shouldn’t be dismissed as a Red Devil.
The Sun claimed if Mata is ready to accept he’s part of a squad rotation policy, then Mourinho is happy to keep the Spanish midfielder.