Tottenham’s Andre Villas-Boas: Juan Mata is the Special One

Andre Villas-Boas believes Juan Mata is a "special" player and is backing the playmaker to force his way back into the first team

andre villas-boas
Andre Villas-Boas took charge of Spurs in July 2012 Photo: The Sport Review

Andre Villas-Boas believes Juan Mata is a truly special player and is backing the Chelsea midfielder to force his way back into Jose Mourinho’s starting XI.

The Spain international made a rare start for the Blues in a 2-0 victory over Swindon Town in the Capital One Cup third round on Tuesday night.

Mourinho has been critical of the 25-year-old’s failure to adjust to the Chelsea manager’s tactics since the Portuguese coach returned to Stamford Bridge in June.

Villas-Boas brought Mata to Chelsea from Valencia in 2011, and the attacking midfielder flourished in the following seasons, being named the club’s player of the year in back-to-back years.

And although the Tottenham boss refused to criticise Mourinho for his treatment of Mata ahead of Spurs’ clash with Chelsea on Saturday, Villas-Boas is confident the winger will break back into the side.

“It’s not my decision [to pick or not pick Mata],” said Villas-Boas. “It was before.

“I’ve enjoyed a great personal and professional relationship with Mata but it’s not my decision any more.

“I suppose the time that he has not been given now, he will overcome it, and jump back into the team because he’s that special.”

When asked whether he would monitor the situation with a view to a possible move for Mata further down the line, Villas-Boas added: “I don’t think so.”

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