Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata has found his “natural habitat” in the current lineup, manager Jose Mourinho has said.
Mourinho said Mata — who could be set to sign a new United contract — was at home in a team that played “in a different way” to his former Chelsea side.
Mata, sold to United during Mourinho’s time at Stamford Bridge, demonstrated his value with a goal and an assist as champions Leicester were beaten 4-1 at Old Trafford last weekend.
And the manager, speaking ahead of Thursday’s Europa League tie at Zorya Luhansk, explained: “Chelsea were playing in a defensive block when we won the title in 2014-15.
“It’s one thing having the players for that and it’s another having players trying to play in a different way. We are trying to play in a different way.
“He is very adaptive with his qualities. He has found a very good natural habitat with us.
“So Juan at Chelsea in my project was one player, and Juan in my project at Man United is another thing.”
The manager said Mata, who joined United for £37.5 million, “asked to leave” Chelsea and added: “When a player asks to leave, I think always you have to think twice.
“The squad and objectives we had at Chelsea is one thing, and the squad I have at Man United and what I try to do with this club is completely different.”
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Culled from ESPNFC