It was reported last month that Mourinho was unconvinced by both Blind and Mata, but was prepared to give the pair a chance to prove themselves ahead of the 2016/17 campaign.
Mata and Blind have featured heavily for Mourinho so far; the Spaniard, following an enterprising pre-season, netted the first goal of the Mourinho era against AFC Bournemouth on Sunday; and Blind, partly thanks to Chris Smalling‘s pre-season injury and suspension for the Bournemouth game, has formed a formidable centre-back pairing with Eric Bailly.
As the transfer window enters its closing stages, Mourinho has, according to the Daily Record’s Duncan Castles, decided to include the pair in his plans for next season.
Both Blind and Mata displayed their unarguable worth against Bournemouth yesterday.
Despite being initially ruled out as an option at the back due to Mourinho’s preference for strong, imposing central defenders, Blind sent out a huge statement against Eddie Howe’s side. The 27-year-old timing, positional sense and overall reading of the game was impeccable, and was complimented perfectly by Bailly’s controlled barbarism.
Just like Blind, Mata was written off as soon as Mourinho walked through the door. And yet, there he was, pumping his chest after netting the opening goal yesterday, delighting fans with his superb manipulation of the ball all afternoon.
Every spot in the squad will be hotly contested this season, but it will he hard to keep Blind and Mata out of the team if they maintain this level of performance throughout the campaign.