Jose Mourinho praised Juan Mata’s performance for Manchester United in their win over Bournemouth – and has spoken warmly about the Spaniard’s future at the club this season.
Mata tapped home five minutes before half-time to put the visitors in front at the Vitality Stadium, before second-half goals by Wayne Rooney and Zlatan Ibrahimovic put the game beyond their opponents, who hit back through Adam Smith as United claimed a 3-1 success.
Mata has seen his future come under the spotlight all summer, and after playing down reports of a fall-out last week, the Manchester United boss has strongly hinted the former Chelsea star remains very much part of his plans after lauding his efforts on the south coast.
“It was an important goal, a clever goal, a goal by somebody with a natural instinct to play football,” Mourinho said. “I know him very well because I worked with him for six months at a previous club. I know exactly what he can give and what he cannot give, so when the game is the perfect game to give what he can, it is perfect and today it was about this.
“I’m really happy with him, but I’m really happy with the whole team, even with the ones that came on later because they gave a contribution, and even with the ones on the bench. I could feel they were with us.
“We are building something strong and to build something strong, it’s not just the people on the pitch, it’s the people on the bench, the ones not selected and fundamentally it’s the Red family.
“We could feel this today with the few thousand [supporters] and I can imagine this on Friday at Old Trafford, I think they can play their game.”