Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho has insisted it was never in his thoughts to sell midfielder Juan Mata.
The relationship between Mourinho and Mata has been in question ever since the Portuguese manager sold the 28-year-old to the Red Devils during his time at Chelsea in 2014.
It was believed, after Mourinho joined United in the summer, that Mata would once again be sold, especially after Henrikh Mkhitaryan was signed from Dortmund in July.
However, Mata has went on to enjoy his best campaign as a United player, scoring nine times, including his side’s first in the 2-0 win against Watford on Saturday.
Now Mourinho feels that the Spaniard has adapted to his style of play and is happy at Old Trafford.
“When I come here people thought that Mata was in trouble,” Mourinho said. “I knew that he wouldn’t be in trouble because one thing is the football I wanted my Chelsea to play and another thing is the football I want my Manchester United to play and Mata is adapted to the football we want to play.
“So I knew it since the beginning he would be an important player and I think he feels that confidence in me and he feels that confidence in the game we want to try to play, so he’s happy and he’s happy on the pitch and you can see that the way he plays.”
Meanwhile, Mourinho believes that his side won’t receive the praise they deserve for their victory against Watford because of the media’s perception of his style of play.
United have had nine draws this season, six of them at home, and Mourinho has not had a more defensive season in the top flight during his time in England.
“That was the past and it’s not a problem for me,” Mourinho said of his previous teams’ style. “Especially because I have the trophies at home and it’s more important to have the trophies at home than to have the praise.
“What I think you are forgetting this season is to say this is the most defensive Premier League that I have ever known, and it’s not because of my team. Many, many, many defensive teams in the Premier League. More than ever.
“Less English managers and it’s probably my seventh or eighth year in the Premier League, it’s the most defensive that I have ever had.”