Mourinho gives Mata Chelsea green light
LONDON - Agence France-Presse
Chelsea's Juan Mata (L) challenges Everton's Leon Osman during their English Premier League soccer match at Goodison Park in Liverpool, northern England September 14, 2013. REUTERS PhotoJose Mourinho has confirmed Juan Mata will start in Chelsea's League Cup tie at Swindon in midweek after being left out of the matchday squad for Saturday's victory over Fulham.
Mata, the club's player of the year in successive seasons, was sat behind the dugout for the 2-0 win in the Premier League, with Oscar and John Mikel Obi getting the goals.
The Spaniard took part in a training session on the morning of the game and his next appearance will be in Tuesday's clash at the County Ground for his team's third-round tie against League One opposition.
Mourinho said: "He took it the way I wanted. He trained in the morning and my assistant told me he trained very very hard.
"He plays from the beginning against Swindon like the players who didn't play in this match.
"I hope he tells me on the pitch 'you are wrong, I am the best and I have to play in every game'. I would love that." Victory took Chelsea to the Premier League summit before kick-off in Sunday's games, and it also ended a run of four matches without a victory.
"We played a very good game against Everton and lost so the way we play is not important, the important thing is that we lost," said Mourinho.
"The most important thing is the result." Mourinho was also embroiled in a post-match row with Sky Sports pundit Ruud Gullit, with the ex-Chelsea manager criticising his old team during the interval for a lack of creativity.
"Ruud Gullit is a different pundit as he was also a manager and he should not be a very proud manager for what he did in the last years," Mourinho said.
"It's a great job (being a pundit), an important job to make the people at home understand football, read the game and analyse.
"England is full of good pundits and that is no problem -- I respect opinions.
"My job is more difficult. It is more difficult to be a manager than a commentator." Oscar opened the scoring just after the interval when David Stockdale spilled a shot.
Then Mikel scored his first Premier League goal from close range six minutes from full-time.
Mourinho, on Mikel's rare goal, added: "It was good for him and good for us. It was good for his confidence and people enjoyed seeing him score." Martin Jol, the Fulham manager, felt his side were creating problems until the opener.
"After the first 50 minutes they were really worried. They couldn't find the space or a solution, but we couldn't punish them," said the Dutchman.
"We were really pleased with the first half, but they stepped up a gear in the second half. We gave the ball away for the first goal, and that's what broke us.
"We needed a little bit more down each flank. We did it okay in the first half, but we couldn't keep it up.
"We need to do a little bit more to get results. We have to learn. The young players have to step up. We didn't attack the ball last week, and that was so disappointing."