Juan Mata… Adapt or Sit on the Bench?
“Juan Mata nearly joined PSG this summer” – PSG Manager Laurent Blanc
A nervous transfer deadline day for Chelsea fans where every true blue kept on praying that time fly fast and by 11pm BST, Juan Mata’s transfer rumor should not become a reality.
What has happened suddenly to Chelsea’s player of the season from last 2 years? Is it his attitude? or his limitations have curbed his thankless talent?
The answer is hidden in the changed incurred this summer. After the arrival of Jose Mourinho, one thing was quite evident that the team will get defensively astute, where wingers will track back to provide cover to full backs.
The acquisition of Andre Schurrle from Bayer Leverkusen was an evident answer to the tactical change Chelsea were about to embrace. Since, Schurrle was rated for his defensive contribution from his time in Germany.
The other Chelsea boys Eden Hazard and Oscar Dos Santos, adapted to this new philosophy relatively quickly and results were showcased with their performances in Premier League and Champions League game against Basel.
However, Juan Mata who has been one of the prime players from last two season, nourished by playing in a free role with no defensive responsibilites to look forward to. His major contribution in list of assits and goals was because of this tactic that Chelsea always used for him.
But, under Jose things unfortunately couldn’t change too quickly for him and he is yet to work on his defensive side of the game. Clearly, thats the area which Juan Mata has to improve and improve pretty quickly.
If we look at his defensive stats from 2012/13 season and compare it with Eden Hazard’s, it is evident that Mata lacks defensive craft that Hazard has.
The difference can be seen and analysed from every angle. More interceptions, more tackles, more ariel duels and in the end more impact on the game.
Clearly, for Jose Mourinho, the choice has been made simple. Pick players that create a bigger impact for a longer period of time.
But do we have to worry? I believe the answer is YES. Juan is not showing signs of adaptation until recently, and that, might be last scratch in the sinking Chelsea career of the “El-Matador”.
Jose Mourinho in his recent press conference has challenged the little Spainiard to change and challenge Oscar for No. 10 spot.
He quoted, “It’s part of a process with him, too. It is one thing to play with Ramires and Oscar closing down opponents on each side, and Mata as a No10 behind a striker with his clever assists, clever passes and fantastic actions because he has great talent. But it is another thing to adapt to the way we want to play. In this moment, Oscar is my No10 and, if anyone tells me Oscar has not been Chelsea’s best player this season, I’d have todisagree. I have to prove to the fans that I am good. Now [Mata] must do the same.”
We all should hope, he adapts Jose’s system, and if he is does, he might become our new “Zola” that many people craving to see.