Juan Mata has opened up on his relationship with Jose Mourinho, saying he has no regrets over moving to Manchester United.
United signed Mata for £40million in 2014 after then Chelsea boss Mourinho made it clear the midfielder did not fit into his plans.
Two years later, Mourinho was appointed United manager.
But rather than seek a route of the club, knowing he might find it difficult to earn opportunities under the new manager, Mata knuckled down and worked hard to show the qualities that had seen him twice named player of the season at Chelsea.
“I have no personal bitterness towards him at all,” Mata told Mail Online.
“My football is not perfect for his idea of football. That’s what happens.
“I was at Chelsea, player of the year for two years, everything was rosy and then he arrived with a different approach, which I respect because there is not only one approach in football.
“So there was a football reason. I take it like it is. I went to United and after some time, he came to United, too.
“I feel content and happy with myself because again the easiest decision would have been to leave, knowing his approach and my qualities.
“But I didn’t leave and despite what many people said and wrote, I played more than people expected.”
Mata has won the FA Cup, EFL Cup and Europa League with United, and said: “I felt like an important player, I played the two finals we played and I felt proud of myself for being strong and taking the challenge and not leaving.
“I might play more or less because of the way he plans football but I am going to be here and I am going to show everyone, most of all myself, that I can overcome things in football.
“And I did. I had good seasons with him and I feel content with that.”