The midfielder still doesn’t understand Chelsea’s decision to sell him and pointed to his goals and assists for Manchester United as proof of his contribution on the pitch
Juan Mata says “creative players always get blamed” when things go wrong and believes he is playing better for Manchester United than he ever did for Chelsea.
The midfielder was voted the Blues’ Player of the Year at the end of both of his two full seasons at Stamford Bridge, but fell out of favour under Jose Mourinho.
After spending the first half of the 2013/14 campaign on the bench, he was sold to United in January 2014 amid suggestions the coach had doubts over his work-rate.
However, Mata – who was substituted at half-time during United’s 3-0 win over Everton – pointed to his statistics at United after rejecting suggestions that he is a “luxury player”.
‘If a luxury player is a player who scores and assists and has good stats – then I’m happy to be a luxury player,’ Mata told The Times.
“I’ve scored as many goals for Manchester United in the Premier League as for Chelsea, but in something like 30 games less.
‘In terms of scoring and assisting, I’m quite happy with the stats, and stats don’t lie. They are facts.
I want luxury players in my team. I like creative players and players who do different things. It’s easy to say certain players are luxuries, especially when you’ve lost a game.
‘When you lose a certain kind of player – the creative players – always get the blame.”
Mata, 27, attributed a large part of his success at United to Van Gaal, and pointed to his direct approach as key to their working relationship.
“I really value his honesty,” he continued. “When someone does something in training that he really likes, he goes over to hug and kiss them — he really does it.
“Or he will say in front of everyone, ‘You are the best in training, I’m really proud of how you played,’ to set a a good example to others.
“Van Gaal is how you see him in the press conferences, he’s like that with us too.
“He’s honest and straight-forward. He believes in his style of training and way of preparing for games. He’s won trophies everywhere he’s been and hopefully this season now we know him better we’ll win something too.”