The returning boss sees the Spaniard playing in a different position this season.
Upon Jose Mourinho’s return to Chelsea there were rumours the Portuguese manager was going to sell midfielder Juan Mata, but the 50-year-old has revealed he just has a different plan for the Spaniard.
Whilst Mata generally operated behind the striker in 2012/13 and occasionally out on the left due to the 25-year-old favouring his left foot, Mourinho has other ideas.
“Of course he fits into my plans,” the Blues boss told Sky Sports.
“I have my idea about him, about where he produces better and where he has more difficulty.
“We will try to help him perform better in those situations. I’ve always liked a right-sided player to be left-footed.
“I like wingers coming in on the inside for the penetrative movement, for the pass, for the shot. And Juan is the only player we have to do that on the right.”
It did seem a strange choice when it emerged Mourinho was thinking of selling the Spain international, what with Mata being arguably the best player at Stamford Bridge last season and being short-listed for the PFA Player of the Year award.
The returning manager has utilised left-sided players on the right throughout his career, with Arjen Robben and Damien Duff the first time round in west London, Goran Pandev at Inter Milan and then Angel Di Maria and Mesut Ozil at Real Madrid.
Since moving onto Bayern Munich, Robben has become widely regarded as the best player in the world at operating on the right, but cutting inside to the stronger left foot.
There is also no reason to suggest Mata couldn’t do the same at Chelsea – although the midfielder does lack the pace to be an out-and-out winger, perhaps why the decision to play the Spaniard in the No.10 role came about in the first place.