The Spaniard, who joined Manchester United in a £37.1m deal, played down suggestions of a rift with the Chelsea manager and says he learnt important lessons
The Spain international struggled for games following Mourinho's return to Chelsea, completing 90 minutes just twice in the Premier League as the 51-year-old challenged him to adapt to a new style of play.
Despite a frustrating few months predominantly spent on the bench, Mata felt he learnt important lessons from his short spell under Mourinho and never begrudged the decision to drop him.
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“I have always respected their decisions, whatever they were; they made me more mature and a stronger person.
“[Thank you] to Jose, for making me a stronger player, because in difficult moments, I have learnt to remain positive and to keep working hard.”
Mata, though, did admit that his axe from the first team had been a difficult period in his life and has envisioned a long stay at Stamford Bridge until losing his place in the side.
“ I have experienced some complicated situations from a personal point of view, mainly during the last six months,” he continued.
“Before last summer, my intention was to stay here for a long time; as long as the club wanted me to, and to keep winning trophies for Chelsea. This is how happy I was in the club and in the city.
“However, as you all know, things changed after the pre-season. From feeling like an important player, I started to experience some difficult situations and I felt unable to help the team to the extent that I wanted and was used to. Obviously, I fully respect the circumstances.”