Chelsea’s reigning player of the year will remain on the bench at no fault of his own, according to Jose Mourinho.
Spanish midfielder Juan Mata “deserves to play” for Chelsea but Mourinho’s faced with the terrible and egregious dilemma of only choosing 11 players for a starting line-up.
“There is one thing that is obvious, which is I can’t change the rules and I can’t start the match with 12, 13 or 14,” he said.
It’s a special quote from the Special One, who prefers Eden Hazard and Oscar as his playmakers over Mata. The Spaniard has made just eight appearances on the season and registered one goal. Oscar has played in 14 matches and record six goals while Hazard has played 13 and scored five.
It’s been mere months since Mata scooped up both Chelsea’s Player of the Year and Player’s Player of the Year honors in a scintillating season under Roberto Di Matteo and then Rafa Benitez, scoring 20 goals in all competitions for the Blues.
So just let the manager start more than 11 players. It’s only fair.
“I’d love that because many people deserve to play and Juan is one who deserves to play because of the way he works, behaves, the way we see him every day,” Mourinho said.
Yet those silly rules are keeping the 25-year-old on the outside of the Starting XI and Mata is settling for scraps. He’s played just 79 minutes in Chelsea’s last four Premier League fixtures and the only one they’ve lost is the one in which he featured for 61 minutes, a 2-0 away defeat at Newcastle.
Such is the problem with depth and loaded rosters, but with PSG waiting in the wings amongst myriad suitors, can Mata possibly be long for Stamford Bridge?