Juan Mata has found 'natural habitat' at Man Utd - Jose Mourinho

By Simon StoneBBC Sport

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho says midfielder Juan Mata has found his "natural habitat" at Old Trafford.

Mourinho sold the Spain international to United for a then club record £37.1m in 2014 when he was manager at Chelsea.

He replaced Mata in last month's Community Shield having brought him on as a substitute, a move BBC pundit Danny Murphy called "embarrassing".

But Mourinho said: "In my project at Chelsea he was a good player. At Man Utd he is a very good player."

And he said he saw Mata as a key part of his plans.

The 28-year-old had been repeatedly left out of the Chelsea side before his January 2015 exit, completing two full 90 minutes in the Premier League during the 2014-15 campaign.

Mourinho did not feel the Spain midfielder did enough defensive work in a side built around physicality that would go on to become champions - but he has repeatedly claimed that it was Mata who asked to leave.

And at United, Mourinho says, he has a completely different squad.

"At Manchester United I have no players to play transitional football," said the Portuguese.

"We are not so physically compact like when we won the title in 2015. We are trying to play in a different way that is very adapted to his qualities.

"He has found a natural habitat for his football."

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