Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has told fans the club are right to let Juan Mata join Manchester United.
The Spanish playmaker, a crowd favourite at Stamford Bridge, is set to complete a move to Old Trafford after the two clubs agreed a fee.
Asked about the Chelsea fans who are unhappy that Mata is leaving to join a Premier League rival, Mourinho suggested they should support the decision to let him go.
“They are sad, we are sad also. No-one here is jumping because Juan is leaving,” he said.
“But would Chelsea fans be happy if we stopped a fantastic person they like a lot from being happy, and say they can only go to Russia, China, France or Portugal and cannot play in England? I don’t know if Chelsea fans would be happy with that.
“We believe it’s the right offer and the player wants it and has asked us to accept it, so I don’t know if Chelsea supporters would be happy if the Chelsea board or Chelsea manager would stop a player from being happy.”
Mourinho added that Mata, 25, was “frustrated and disappointed” at not being a first-team regular this season.
And the Blues boss dismissed the surprise expressed by many in football that one of Chelsea’s most influential players of recent years had been allowed to join another English team
He said: “I think this club is a special club that cares about people and is very respectful with players and especially with players that brought the history of the club, and he is one of those cases.
“I thought – and still think – he could be an important player for us. Of course he was a fantastic player for us.
“But Juan had this fantastic opportunity at another club that wants him, in the country he loves to be and loves to play, and with an offer that is right for us.
“So in spite of possibly many clubs, boards and managers that think you should not sell a top player to a rival club, especially in the same country, we feel differently.
“The player deserves respect and deserves to play and be happy, and it was the right offer for the club.”