As Manchester United’s midfield continue to struggle, Jose Mourinho has become increasingly reliant on Juan Mata.
To many on the outside of Old Trafford, that would seem like a nightmare scenario for the Special One.
Rumours of a rift between the two have been escalating ever since they worked together at Chelsea, and it was Mourinho’s decision to sell him off to United in the first place.
It appeared tensions were still high between the two in pre-season, when the Portuguese took the midfielder off not long after bringing him on in the Community Shield.
Nevertheless, Mata has moved to downplay the ‘row’, insisting he has no ever had a problem with the manager.
“Too many things were said, too many stories were created as well – lies,” he told Sky Sports.
“When the manager came in, I was always thinking the same as I have always thought; ‘I am going to give my best, and I believe in myself, and I think this can work out’.
“Your family and friends are ringing to know what is going on, but I always told them the same; ‘Listen, I am the one that knows what is going on and I know that nothing is going on’.
“The truth is nothing happened. I came here to play for Manchester United and that is it. My relationship with the manager is normal. I have said this before and I will say it again; it is a professional relationship.”
It was initially thought Mourinho’s arrival in the United hot seat could prompt the end of Mata’s time at the club, but he must be glad he stayed given some of the form he’s displayed this season.
The 28-year-old has already scored three goals and created another in all competitions, and many Red Devils fans were frustrated to see him come off in the weekend’s 0-0 draw with Burnley.
Mata may still not be first choice, but Mourinho will be aware of the number of times the Spaniard has dug United out of a hole, and he must be grateful.