AVB urges Mata to fight for comeback and denies tussle with Mourinho
Tottenham Hotspur manager Andre Villas-Boas believes Juan Mata has the ability to face the most difficult challenges. The former Chelsea boss has urged Mata to overcome the problems he is facing to force his way into Jose Mourinho’s first-team.
Mata, who was brought to Stamford Bridge during Villas-Boas’s reign as manager, has found it increasingly difficult to play under Mourinho. The Spaniard fell out of favor in the eyes of the Portuguese tactician soon after his arrival from Real Madrid.
Mata has been a pivotal player to Chelsea’s success since his arrival from Valencia in 2011. For the past two seasons Mata has been awarded Player of the Season for Chelsea. In spite of producing such amazing form, Mourinho seems to have forgotten that he still has Mata in his squad.
“With the talent he has, he will overcome it and jump back into the team, he is that special,” Villas-Boas said. “It’s not my decision to not pick Mata. Before [when he was Chelsea boss] Mata was always involved in my starting XI. I enjoyed a great personal and professional relationship with Juan Mata, but it is not my decision now.”
Villas-Boas will meet his former employer and the club where he was sacked a couple of years ago on Saturday. Villas-Boas insists he “doesn’t care about Chelsea now”. Meanwhile, reports about a tussle between Villas-Boas and his former mentor Mourinho have lit up the London derby.
“No one has anything to prove in this game,” said Villas-Boas, who worked under Mourinho at Porto, Chelsea and Inter Milan. “Jose’s career speaks for itself and mine I’m proud of what I have achieved. Hopefully the day that I quit, I continue to look at it in the same way. In my opinion, [the Villas-Boas v Mourinho match-up] does not mean a lot.
“We try to serve our players and the history of both clubs. We should be second figures to a spectacular game that means a lot to the fans and the players.
“This Chelsea team is still being built around Jose’s ideas. It has changed dramatically since he left first time. They have so many creative players, so much technical flair. Not so much of the players in the first few years we associated with Jose from 2004 to 2007.
“The type of players they have signed is a bit different in recent years. They are still bonding as a team and with all of Jose’s abilities, he will fine tune it to another winning team as he has done throughout most of his career.”