José Mourinho: Oscar better than Juan Mata... at the moment | inside World Soccer

Chelsea manager José Mourinho has declared that Juan Mata is firmly behind Oscar in the pecking order as the team's No 10 role this season.

Chelsea fans holds a banner suggesting José Mourinho on how to use fan favourite Juan Mata
Chelsea fans holds a banner suggesting José Mourinho on how to use fan favourite Juan Mata

Photo: Getty Images

Fans and pundits alike have been bemused by the way in which Mourinho has used Mata this year, especially as he has been Chelsea's player of the year in each of the last two seasons.

The 25-year-old has played just three games this season, only two of them starts, and is yet to complete a full 90 minutes.

The sporadic use of the Spaniard has perplexed Blues fans but Mourinho has made no apologies for his decision.

"The way I'm reading the situation and the reasons why, in this moment, he's (Mata) not playing so much are things I can speak about with him but not publicly," Mourinho told journalists.

"But he played against Everton from the start and you can analyse his performance. And he played against Basel, not like (Demba) Ba or (John Obi) Mikel coming in to rescue the game, but he came on when the team was winning 1-0 and had specific tasks to do.

"It's part of a process with him, too. It is one thing is to play with Ramires and Oscar in the side, them closing each flank, and Mata as a No 10 behind a striker - clever assists and clever passes, fantastic actions because he has great talent.

"But it is another thing to adapt to the way we want to play.

"In this moment, Oscar is my number 10 and, if anyone tells me Oscar has not been Chelsea's best player this season, I'd have to disagree.

"I have to prove to the fans that I am good. Now (Mata) must do the same."

The Portuguese tactician added: "They can play together, yes, but when Mata adapts to it.

"I'm not ready to ask Oscar to track opposing full-backs, because he plays in that position for the country with more talented players than anyone else in the world in that position."

"I want to build with Oscar as my No.10. I want the other two players, from the side, to adapt to that reality and learn how to do things they were not ready to do before."