Mata important to Chelsea, insists Mourinho

Jose Mourinho has insisted Juan Mata remains an important part of the Chelsea team, despite leaving the Spain international out of the Premier League draw with Manchester United, and that Mata is not for sale, Sky Sports has reported.

It has been speculated for much of the summer that Mata will be allowed to leave Stamford Bridge by Mourinho, despite claiming the club’s player of the year award in each of his two seasons with Chelsea since moving from Valencia. And Mourinho chose to leave Mata on the bench for the trip to Old Trafford, preferring to start with Eden Hazard, Oscar and Kevin De Bruyne, not even bringing the 25-year-old on during the match.

Chelsea are also about to sign Anzhi Makhachkala playmaker Willian, subject to a work permit, and it has been suggested that the Brazilian’s arrival will herald Mata’s departure, with Tottenham Hotspur – seeking a replacement for Gareth Bale after Chelsea beat them to Willian’s signature – the latest mooted buyer. Atletico Madrid have also been mentioned.

But Mourinho has rejected the suggestion that Mata is bound for the exit. “He is very important for me and very important for Chelsea. The stories that are coming out are nonsense stories. He goes nowhere,” Mourinho said after the goalless draw with United.

Mata has made 119 appearances for Chelsea, scoring 32 goals, as well as winning 29 caps for Spain, netting eight times, and winning the World Cup in 2010 and the European Championships two years later.

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