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Jose Mourinho: Juan Mata must adapt

FBL-ENG-PR-MAN UTD-CHELSEA

Chelsea’s Portuguese manager Jose Mourinho arrives ahead of the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Chelsea at Old Trafford in Manchester, northwest England, on August 26, 2013. AFP PHOTO / ANDREW YATES RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or live services. Online in-match use limited to 45 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. (Photo credit should read ANDREW YATES/AFP/Getty Images)

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Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho didn’t hold back in his recent press conference, discussing the team’s playing style, changes that must be made at the club, and, in particular, the role Juan Mata will play for Mourinho’s side. And for those holding on to Mata for their Premier League fantasy teams, well, it seems it might be time to let the Spaniard go.

“I don’t like the way Chelsea were playing the last couple of years; the club doesn’t like it and we want to change,” said Mourinho. That statement may not be only directed to Mata, but it seems Juan will bear the brunt of the manager’s frustration. The attacker gave way to Oscar, Mourinho’s favored number 10, in last week’s loss to Everton. That was Mata’s second start of the season, although his absence had previously been excused by a minor injury picked up in the summer’s Confederations Cup.

Now Mourinho has blown the lid off that little charade. The Chelsea manager has admitted that there is a problem with Mata’s performance, although he did not go into specifics, stating that those things must be discussed with the player, not the press. However, Mourinho hinted that observers should analyze the Spaniard’s performance against Everton, implying that Mata has been assigned specific tasks, and hasn’t been successful in completing those tasks.

Mata has great talent, Mourinho admitted, but “it is another thing to adapt to the way we want to play.” Mourinho wants that adaptation, and that means Mata needs to learn to play out wide, and to let go of being the No.10: " “I’m not ready to ask Oscar to track opposing full-backs. Brazil has more talented players in the No10 position than any other country in the world, and he plays there for the national team, so I want to build with Oscar as my No10.”

The message is clear, Juan: learn to play wide, learn to track back and learn that Mourinho is boss. Until that time, you’ll be on the bench.

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