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Juan Mata says his family were concerned when Jose Mourinho was appointed Manchester United manager

Juan Mata

Juan Mata says his family were concerned about his prospects of regular football when Jose Mourinho became Manchester United manager in 2016.

The Spanish playmaker moved to Old Trafford from Chelsea (opens in new tab) in January 2014, when David Moyes was the man in the dugout.

The former Everton (opens in new tab) boss was soon succeeded by Louis van Gaal, who was replaced by Mourinho ahead of the 2016/17 campaign.

Mata had previously worked with Mourinho at Chelsea, with the Portuguese restricting his first-team minutes upon returning for a second spell in charge at Stamford Bridge.

Indeed, it was Mourinho who sanctioned his sale to United in the first place.

And Mata has revealed that his own family were worried when the Red Devils turned to the former Real Madrid (opens in new tab) and Inter (opens in new tab) head coach.

“Louis was gone and rumours about Jose Mourinho being appointed as Manchester United’s new manager acquired a life of their own," he wrote 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.

“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.

"Yes, I didn't enjoy as much playing time as I would have loved to or was used to during those six 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.”

Mata started in United’s 2-0 defeat by West Ham (opens in new tab) at the London Stadium on Sunday.

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Greg Lea
Greg Lea

Greg Lea is a freelance football journalist who's filled in wherever FourFourTwo needs him since 2014. He became a Crystal Palace fan after watching a 1-0 loss to Port Vale in 1998, and once got on the scoresheet in a primary school game against Wilfried Zaha's Whitehorse Manor (an own goal in an 8-0 defeat).