But Jose Mourinho says he likes Mata and has insisted the Spaniard has a part to play.
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho insists Spain international Juan Mata is part of plans but has warned the playmaker he must be prepared to sit on the bench ‘like everyone else’.
Mata has been named Chelsea’s player of the year for the previous two seasons but has played just 67 minutes of competitive football under Mourinho.
The 25-year-old was linked with a move to Atletico Madrid as well as Chelsea’s Premier League rivals Tottenham, Arsenal and Liverpool in the summer but Mourinho has repeatedly stressed that the former Valencia star is not for sale.
Various theories have been suggested for Mata’s exclusion so far this term, with some reports suggesting Mourinho is unhappy with the player for trying to engineer a summer move to Barcelona, while Mata has hinted that he is not fully fit.
But the Portuguese says he admires Mata but warned the midfielder to accept squad rotation.
“He’s in the same plans as all the others. He’s a player I like very much, that’s why he’s here. He is a player I trust a lot and will fight for position like everybody else. He will sometimes start, sometimes on the bench. He has to be [prepared to be] not selected like everybody else,” Mourinho told The Independent.
“The squad is competitive and with a match every three days I will make decision that may seem strange to your eyes. I make them because I think further than the next match and on to the ones to come and I will leave out an important player because I want him at maximum level for next match. I want the players to think only about next match. But I have to think further than that.”