Mata knows the fans support him even if his manager doesn’t…
Chelsea’s 25-year-old Spanish playmaker Juan Mata is grateful for the support of the fans, despite his difficult start to the season, he told the Sun.
Mata, who won Chelsea’s Player of the Year award for the past two seasons, has bizarrely fallen down the pecking order under new boss Jose Mourinho, and has only started one Premier League match this season.
In his only start, Mata was hauled of after 56 minutes, with Chelsea going on to lose 1-0 to Everton – which led many to think he may no longer be at the club after the January transfer window.
The Spaniard however, is grateful for the continued support of the club’s fans.
“I feel the fans have always been supporting me and I like to play well, to score and to do great things for them, because they’re the most important thing,” said Mata.
“I will always be grateful for that. To be honest, the other day against Basel at Stamford Bridge I got emotional when I went to warm up and all the stands were cheering me.”
Mata was on the bench for Chelsea’s Champions League opener, with new signing Willian preferred on the left wing.
“It is nice to feel the people are behind you and supporting you,” Mata continued.
“I will always be grateful to the Chelsea supporters because they are supporting me. As the professional football player I am, I respect every one of my team-mates, I respect every one of the supporters, every opinion.
“But I can do only what I have in my hands, what I have in my feet, what I have in my body.”
Despite his rocky start to the season, Mata has shown an admirable commitment to prove to his enigmatic boss just how good he is.
“I will play wherever he demands. I am young and can still improve. I want to do the same as I did in the last two seasons,” he said.
Mourinho has confirmed that Oscar will be his first choice no.10, meaning Mata will have to content himself for a right-wing spot – something the Spaniard is clearly prepared to do.
“My dad always said if you are left-footed improve with your right.
“I have to improve defensively, too. Every single offensive player has to. To be the perfect player is very difficult but I have tried throughout my career to improve a lot. I think Jose can help me.”
Chelsea take on Spurs in today’s early kickoff, but Mata will yet again start from the bench, with Oscar and Eden Hazard preferred in the attacking midfield spots.