Mata was unveiled today as United’s record signing and the Spain international was particularly respectful to his old club, thanking them for helping his development despite a ‘difficult six months’.
Mourinho’s move to Stamford Bridge in the summer effectively sealed the end for Mata at the club and though the manager couldn’t use him on the pitch he says that his professionalism has been top notch.
“He’s very classy,” Mourinho told reporters. “He’s a player that stays in the fans’ hearts and with his colleagues. I’ve only been with him six months and I like him a lot, imagine the people that have been with him for three years.
“He stays in the club’s history, he won important trophies, people love him. One day he will come here in the Man United shirt and people will show him exactly that.
“He went to Man United because it’s a special club that allows people to be happy. I’m sorry I couldn’t make him happy in this squad, I’m so sad with that, but I build my teams around Oscar playing as a number ten. They’re decisions a manager has to make.”
Mourinho’s move has been lauded as a particularly curious one with United unwilling to send Wayne Rooney in the other direction because they don’t want to sell to a rival club.
But with Financial Fair Play becoming all the more important and Mourinho looking to assert his position as a tough manager who will sell whichever players he feels don’t fit into the team it could work out to be a good move by the Portuguese tactician, particularly with a spending spree planned for the summer transfer window.