Tottenham boss Villas-Boas expects Mata to return to Chelsea starting XI

Tottenham Hotspur manager Andre Villas-Boas has said that he expects Chelsea playmaker Juan Mata, currently out-of-favour at Stamford Bridge, to force his way back into the Blues’ first-choice starting XI, reports ESPN.

Mata has only made three starts so far this season in all competitions, the latest of them being in Chelsea’s victory over Swindon Town in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday. Manager Jose Mourinho has called for the Spaniard to adapt to his playing style, while he currently prefers Eden Hazard, Oscar and Andre Schurrle to play behind the lone striker.

But ahead of his side’s meeting with Chelsea at White Hart Lane on Saturday, Villas-Boas said: “With the talent he has, he will overcome it and jump back into the team, he is that special.

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.

Mata has been voted Chelsea’s Player of the Year twice since joining the club in the summer of 2011, signed by Villas-Boas. He has also helped Chelsea win the Champions League, the Europa League and the FA Cup, scoring 31 goals in 122 appearances.

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