Pitchside Europe

Mata had 100 per cent pass completion – so why was he hauled off?

Juan Mata was furious to be hauled off just after half-time in Chelsea's match against Southampton on New Year's Day - our friends at Squawka.com look at why it happened, and whether or not it was justified.

[Paper Round: Mourinho puts United on red alert over Mata]

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A fine second half performance helped Chelsea record a convincing 3-0 away win over Southampton. It is their third in a row, helping them stay just two points behind league leaders Arsenal, who recorded a 2-0 victory over Cardiff City themselves.

But it wasn't all good for the Blues, however, as Jose Mourinho had to field post-game questions regarding Juan Mata's future. Those enquiries were prompted by the Portuguese boss's decision to haul the player him off just a few minutes into the second half - much to the Spaniard's obvious displeasure, as he muttered and gesticulated all the way back to the bench.

The 25-year-old has barely had a look-in under Mourinho this season, much to his understandable frustration, but his gestures of anger with the facial expressions to match made in full view of everyone as he took his seat on the bench were clear signs that he has had his fill.

And Mourinho played even talked up the idea that Mata could leave: Mourinho said that he "does not want him to go" in one breath, but then added that he and the club will listen to any player who wishes to move on - words that were taken as a clear indication that Mata can go if he chooses.

The player himself couldn't understand what he had done wrong on New Year's Day - and the stats appear to suggest that in the difficult, rainy conditions, he had done as well as anyone could have expected.

Starting on the right flank, he tracked back to help out his defence - just as his manager wanted him to, according to quotes made to that effect earlier this season. He attempted four tackles, winning three of them in his own half as both he and Andre Schurrle supported their full-backs.

Going forward, he sought to link up with the in-form Eden Hazard in hopes that they could combine to pick the lock to a Saints defence that has been less than assured in recent times, having kept just one clean sheet in its last 10 league games.

Nine passes were made from the Spaniard to the Belgian, with Mata completing every one of his 26 attempted passes.

But that wasn't enough as the Blues, in spite of them having the upper hand throughout, were yet to make a breakthrough.

And Mata hadn't registered a single attempt on goal. So, Mourinho did something about it: he made a double substitution on 53 minutes that saw Mata and Schurrle make way for Willian, who has been mightily impressive of late, and Oscar.

The result spoke for itself: within seven minutes Oscar created the breakthrough with a long-range shot that came off the post and fell to Fernando Torres to knock in.

He then set Willian up for a second before adding the third himself. Had Chelsea gone on to lose, Mata's grumbles would have been big news - but their superb win means that his unhappiness is just a footnote to Oscar's match-winning genius.

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