The Supplement: Is Mourinho right about Mata?

Last Updated: 26/09/13 3:08pm

The Sunday Supplement panel believe Jose Mourinho's refusal to pick Juan Mata has cast a shadow over their season.

The Chelsea manager is adamant that Mata - who has been club's player of the year for the past two seasons - must adapt his game if he wants to fit into the new philosophy at the club.

Oscar has been selected in the No.10 jersey ahead of Mata and while Chelsea may have beaten Fulham 2-0 on Saturday to go top of the table, the Daily Mirror's Martin Lipton says they have to sort out their issues.

"It's not all sweetness and light at Stamford Bridge but nor is it all doom and gloom," said Lipton on the Sunday Supplement.

"I think we have to be a bit more sensible about the situation. There are issues that need to be resolved clearly. Mourinho has taken the decision on Mata which many fans will find unpalatable. However it may be that he is using Mata as he used Joe Cole in his first season, using the situation as a cause célèbre internally and then he rehabilitates him and he comes back as a key player as Joe did. Joe Cole responded to this tough love treatment

"I am not sure it works for Mata in the same way. He has basically been told that he is the one that is going to be sacrificed because Jose wants to play in a certain way."

Mourinho has been very vocal about the great relationship he has with the British press and in fact Friday's press conference at Cobham went on for 45 minutes where Mourinho explained his way of thinking. However Sam Wallace says that the British press have a different view on the relationship.

"It is a bit of a myth that he has cultivated that there was this great relationship with the British press the first time around," said The Independent man.

"Often he would not turn up to the press conference at all. What he is keen to do at the moment is explain and for the time being that is the way he sees it going. He was quite specific about what he wants to do and he was very clear that he felt that Mata just didn't do enough defensively. Some people might find that absurd given what he gives the team going forward. But Mourinho says that he is not prepared to change and not prepared to compromise and he thinks that Oscar has been their best player this season - I was not at the game yesterday but from what I did see I thought he played well.

"I think he has become entrenched now, it has escalated so quickly that it is very difficult to see Mata playing in that No.10 role. It is early days but I think it is a hell of a battle to take on this early."

Many feel that Mourinho could be alienating himself from the players if he continues to leave out such an influential player as Mata, however The Sun's Neil Custis believes that Mourinho will get his way.

"Ruud Gullitt made the point before the game that he thinks it is a battle that Mourinho is not going to win - I personally think he will win because of his status at Chelsea.

"I think fans are very wary of questioning him about Mata because it is Jose Mourinho - if it was Rafa Benitez he would have been pilloried for it. The only person who has a wry smile on his face is Benitez himself because on the night Chelsea are being booed off after losing to Basel, he's beating Borussia Dortmund in an incredible atmosphere and is top of Serie A."