Mourinho’s Mata stance surprises former Chelsea boss Grant

Ex-Chelsea manager Avram Grant has told of his surprise at current boss Jose Mourinho’s refusal to make playmaker Juan Mata a first team regular at Stamford Bridge, ESPN has reported.

Despite being a standout performer since arriving during the summer of 2011, earning last season’s Player of the Year award, Mata has been a peripheral figure since the return of Mourinho. So far this season Mata has made just two starts and is yet to complete 90 minutes, with the Spaniard left out of the squad altogether for Saturday’s win over Fulham.

Prior to that game, Mourinho indicated that Mata would have to adapt to his preferred playing style, saying that Oscar was his current first-choice.

And Grant, who helped Chelsea to the Champions League final in 2008 before being relieved of his duties days after their defeat to Manchester United on penalties, is struggling to understand Mourinho’s decision to regularly omit Mata.

However, he added that Mata might get a look in should Chelsea suffer from injuries, saying: “In this position, Chelsea have so many players, so if Oscar, Eden Hazard or Willian are out, people will ask why they are out of the squad or team. A manager needs to take a decision and in this case it’s a tough decision. Jose will know how to manage them well.

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