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Juan Mata saga is forcing Mourinho to have a “hard heart”

Jan 4, 2014, 7:45 AM EDT

Chelsea manager Mourinho watches the game with Luiz and Mata in the stands during their English Premier League soccer match against Fulham in London Reuters

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho can’t let his “soft heart” prevail when it comes to his treatment of reigning Blues player of the year Juan Mata.

Mata has appeared in 14 games across all competitions for Chelsea this season and his manager used his podium earlier this week to say the “door is open” if the midfielder wants to leave.

But Mourinho’s emotional take was downright Shakespearean just two days later.

“I try to do my job forgetting I have a soft heart, pretending that I have a hard heart. Many times it hurts me, not just with Juan, over the decisions I have to make. But I think to do my job in the best way is to do it thinking the team is more important than any player.

“When I have to make decision I always try to be a cold one, icy, analyze situation and try to make the best decision for the team, maybe not forgetting the player but putting the person secondary.

“But yes, it hurts me. He’s a good kid, he works hard and I know it’s not easy situation for him not to be playing every time.

“If he came to me and said he wants to leave, I would say, ‘Go to Stamford Bridge and speak with the board.’ And while he was on his way there, I’d call the board to say ‘Don’t let him go!”‘

Theatrics aside — and will they ever be when it comes to The Special One — will Mata stay at Stamford Bridge? His representatives may want him to stay, but what’s best for Chelsea?