Juan Mata has backed his former side Chelsea to overcome their current rut, after being asked about the potential sacking of Jose Mourinho. Talking to Spanish press during a meeting with children with intellectual disabilities organised by the Laureus Foundation in Madrid, the Spaniard said he holds no grudge against his ex-boss, after being exiled from Chelsea in January 2014.
Mata previously revealed in an interview with El Pais that his poor relationship with Mourinho was the key behind his decision to swap Stamford Bridge for Old Trafford. The Spaniard had been Chelsea's player of the season in his first two years at the Blues, but saw his playing time restricted in the first part of the 2013-2014 campaign following the return of the Portuguese boss to the club.
"I had two fantastic seasons at Chelsea, winning titles and being voted the player of the year by both my teammates and the fans ... But [Mourinho] came and I started to have limited playing time," he said last year. "We had no relationship, there was no dialogue [between us]. I was not happy, but I always gave the most of myself and tried to respect my colleagues."
Asked now about the possibility of Mourinho being showing the door following Chelsea's feeble start to their title defence, Mata was quoted by AS saying: "I will always wish them the best because I am extremely grateful for the time I spent there and nothing else."
The Blues, meanwhile, have made an official statement expressing "full support" for their manager, despite Chelsea securing just eight points from their first eight Premier League games.
Mata, who is set to join the Spanish squad ahead of European Championship qualifiers against Luxembourg and Ukraine, has also expressed his delight after regaining a place in the national team – after being left out of Vicente Del Bosque's plans a number of times last season following a disappointing World Cup campaign.
"They were difficult months because I always wanted to come back [to the national team]," he said "But I've never taken anything for granted, not when I was included regularly and neither when I was left out. I've always had confidence in myself and I am happy to be a regular again."