League Cup: What's the Mata, Jose?

League Cup: What's the Mata, Jose?
WAITING FOR EXIT? Juan Mata’s (left) efficient display will not endear him to Jose Mourinho.




(Fernando Torres 29, Ramires 35)

If this was the match to test the mettle of Juan Mata, then we have learned little.

The tiny Spaniard, demoted by Jose Mourinho to the status of bit-part player, gave a professional performance in a routine 2-0 win.

Was it enough to displace Oscar from the first team? It's highly unlikely. The curious ostracism continues.

Mourinho has let it be known that he doesn't rate Mata, telling a handful of journalists that he believes he slows down the play, is too "lateral" and lacks the fitness to complete a full 90 minutes.

These are not deficiencies that were spotted by anyone else in the last two seasons, both of which ended with him winning the supporters' Player of the Year award.

There are shades of Mourinho's treatment of Joe Cole here.

Cole, prior to the Portuguese's arrival, had been held up as one of England's finest players in waiting.

Mourinho did not concur and went to great effort to pick fault in his performances.

Cole eventually became a more rounded player, at least until injury did for him at Southend in 2008, but he never had the same ingenuity and impetuosity again.

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