Jose Mourinho has claimed it is “hurting him” to have to treat Juan Mata “with a hard heart”.
Two days after declaring the “door is open” should the Spanish playmaker want to leave Stamford Bridge, Chelsea boss Mourinho insisted he wants Mata to stay.
Former Chelsea boss Rafa Benitez, now at Napoli, heads the queue seeking to land Mata, with Juventus, Inter Milan and Paris Saint-Germain also keen on a player Chelsea will not sell to a Premier League rival.
But the Portuguese maintained that his treatment of Mata, the club’s Player of the Year for the past two seasons but now relegated behind Oscar in the Blues’ pecking order, was the right thing to do – irrespective of the personal anguish it was causing him.
Mourinho said: “I try to do my job forgetting I have a soft heart, pretending that I have a hard heart. Many times it hurts me, not just with Juan, over the decisions I have to make. But I think to do my job in the best way is to do it thinking the team is more important than any player.
“When I have to make decision I always try to be a cold one, icy, analyse situation and try to make the best decision for the team, maybe not forgetting the player but putting the person secondary.
“But yes, it hurts me. He’s a good kid, he works hard and I know it’s not easy situation for him not to be playing every time.
“If he came to me and said he wants to leave, I would say, ‘Go to Stamford Bridge and speak with the board.’ And while he was on his way there, I’d call the board to say ‘Don’t let him go!”‘
The final trophy of Mourinho’s first spell in charge at Chelsea was the 2007 FA Cup and he promised to field a strong side in the third-round tie at Championship Derby on Sunday, as he’s keen to avoid the fixture congestion a replay would bring.
The Blues boss added that he had grown up in love with the competition, a relationship intensified when he worked under Sir Bobby Robson at Porto.
“I have a big feeling for the FA Cup,” said Mourinho. “I remember being a kid, when we had a black and white television and there wasn’t live football every day, that as a family we waited for the Cup Final.
“So I remember Coventry in 1987. Wimbledon in ’88. Coventry I remember because I was with them. I was with the underdog.
“Then, working with Mr Robson, he always spoke about big things in English football and tradition of FA Cup which gave me that feeling. And when I came here and played at Stamford Bridge against some smaller teams, who played from the first minute without any fear, trying to win, bringing 10,000 fans to support them.
“That’s unique. Every match a big one. It’s a great competition.”
Written by Steve Milne – Have your say below 🙂