Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has insisted that Juan Mata is not unhappy after his contribution in the Community shield clash was cut short.
The Spaniard came off the bench at Wembley against Leicester City last weekend, only to be brought off shortly after and appeared to exchange a few words with Mourinho on his way to the bench.
Given their history from their time together at Chelsea, it’s no surprise that it has led to further speculation that Mata could be on the way out again, but Mourinho has been keen to downplay the incident and paint a positive picture of his relationship with the playmaker.
“He was very happy that he was my first choice to come on to the pitch in a difficult moment of the game for us after we conceded a goal,” the United boss said, as reported by Sky Sports.
“At that moment Mata was the first player to be called up to play and played 25 minutes. He was really happy with his contribution.”
It’s an unconvincing argument from Mourinho, as ultimately it’s not enough to dismiss talk that their problems from Stamford Bridge aren’t continuing in Manchester.
Mata must have felt an element of embarrassment over the fact that he was taken off having only come on just 25 minutes earlier on such a big stage, and it certainly doesn’t bode well moving forward.
With weeks remaining until the transfer deadline passes, it remains to be seen whether or not the former Valencia man gets a move elsewhere or if he indeed does have a future at Old Trafford.
Situations such as that seen last weekend won’t help dampen speculation of tension between him and Mourinho, and while he shouldn’t consider himself a starter necessarily, he will be desperate to play a prominent role for the Red Devils this year.