Jose Mourinho reveals his plans for Juan Mata at Chelsea this season

Jose Mourinho insists Juan Mata is still a "very important" player for Chelsea - but says Spaniard is not a guaranteed starter

juan mata
Juan Mata signed for Chelsea from Valencia in August 2011

Jose Mourinho insists Juan Mata is still a “very important” player for Chelsea – but admits the Spaniard will not be guaranteed a starting place this season.

The playmaker’s situation at Stamford Bridge has been the source of much debate in recent weeks after making just one appearance under new boss Mourinho.

The 25-year-old’s lack of playing time fuelled the speculation surrounding his future during the transfer window, with Atletico Madrid and Valencia both reportedly keen on luring him back to Spain.

Now, after the player himself insisted his absence was purely down to his fitness, Mourinho has once again underlined Mata’s importance to the Blues – but warned that no one is guaranteed a spot in his side.

“He’s in the same plans as all of the other players,” said Mourinho ahead of his side’s trip to Everton on Saturday evening.

“He’s a player I like very much, that’s why he’s here. He’s a player I trust a lot. He’s a player who will fight for his position like everybody else.

“He’s a player that sometimes starts the match, and sometimes is on the bench. Hopefully not, but maybe sometimes he has to be not selected like everybody else because the squad is competitive.

“With so many matches coming consecutively, sometimes I will make strange decisions for your eyes – but [they are] decisions where I think further [ahead] than the next match and I think about the ones that are coming.

“And sometimes I will leave out of my selection an important player because I want to have him at his maximum level for the next match.

“I want my players to think one match at a time, but I have to think further than that as a manager.”

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