Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho praised Juan Mata following the 3-1 victory against Southampton.
Mata’s struggle to secure a first-team place since Mourinho’s return has led to speculation about the popular Spaniard’s future.
But he impressed after being recalled to the side, showing glimpses of his class and delivering a fine cross to John Terry for Chelsea’s all-important second goal.
Mourinho was also pleased with Mata’s willingness to help Branislav Ivanovic deal with the forward runs of Southampton’s highly-rated full-back Luke Shaw.
He said: “It was good. I think in the second half Mata gave us what we needed.
“We were playing 4-4-2 and needed him to be a bit of a winger, come inside and combine with the attacking players.
“We also needed to control Luke Shaw because the kid goes forward and he [Mata was a big support for Ivanovic, so he was good.”
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