José Mourinho's second stint at Chelsea has been all but rosy so far. Lackluster performances combined with losses to Everton in the EPL and FC Basel in Champions League have seen critics question many of his personnel decisions, tactics and overall philosophy. Chief amongst those queries is his marginalization of Spaniard Juan Mata. By far Chelsea's best player last season, the wispy creator has seen his place under threat due to Mourinho's preference for the more mobile and dynamic Oscar, amongst others. An outrageously talented playmaker, Chelsea fans have been tearing their hair out to watch the former Valencia attacker waste away on the bench. With such skills like in the video below, many outsiders have been asking the same question.
Mourinho has been staunch in his criticism of Mata, stating that the Spaniard must improve his defensive contribution in order to secure a spot in Chelsea's lineup. However, after giving him a shot at halftime of their crucial matchup against Tottenham, the little man stepped his efforts up with an inspired performance to help his side to a 1-1 draw. Rewarding Mata with a start against Steaua Bucharest, he repaid Mourinho's faith with a sparkling performance, helping them to a brilliant 4-0 Champions League victory. With Mourinho's challenge laid down, Juan Mata has stepped up in the best way possible. by working his socks off, being a creative force, and showing the talent that made him Chelsea's best last season. With such absurd talent at his disposal, Chelsea fans will be happy that arguably their best player is back in the lineup.