Juan Mata has admitted family and friends were concerned about Jose Mourinho’s arrival at Manchester United but the Spaniard didn’t have the same worries about his former coach.
Mourinho, who sold the playmaker to the Red Devils after only working with him for six months, replaced Louis Van Gaal at Old Trafford six days after Mata scored a goal in Man Utd’s FA Cup final win in 2016.
Speculation persisted that Mourinho would once again jettison Mata, but the player himself was intent on to prove himself despite his family and friends expressing concern about the Portuguese manager.
“Louis was gone and rumours about José Mourinho being appointed as Manchester United’s new manager acquired a life of their own,” Mata said in his autobiography Suddenly a Footballer.
“A few days later, the rumours had become fact. Mourinho was my manager again.
“And, despite the concern of my family, friends and many people, I was determined to face the situation as I’d always tried to: positively.”
“As expected, so many stories came out again in the press. I had no possible future at the club. I had already agreed to leave.
“Far too many people believed the information was true, again, and reached the conclusion that I had no future under him.”
Mata joined Man Utd under David Moyes during the 2014 January transfer window in £37.1 (€41.9m/$46.1m) million deal after Mourinho decided he was surplus to requirements at Stamford Bridge.
However, the 31-year-old insists he has never had a personal issue following the transfer and is proud that his previous situation didn’t repeat itself under Mourinho at the Theatre of Dreams.
“Jose and I were together at Chelsea before, of course, and after having being together for sixth months, my career would take a different direction: Manchester,” Mata said.
“Yes, I didn’t enjoy as much playing time as I would have loved to or was used to during those sixth months, but I never had a personal problem with Jose.
“Naturally, people assumed that the story would repeat itself. I was determined it wouldn’t.
“To do so, I focused, like many times during my career, on what I could control: my dedication, professionalism and commitment. Time would prove me right.
“If you ask me, yes, this is an aspect of my career that I’m very proud of, because, regardless of winning or losing, playing more or less, I didn’t take the easier way. I didn’t give up.”
Mourinho was sacked as Man Utd boss in December 2018, while Mata remains an integral part of the first team squad at Old Trafford.