Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has admitted that it was a “hard decision” to let Juan Mata leave for Manchester United.

Mata has now become United’s record signing, with a transfer fee of £37.1m.

Mourinho, however, would have preferred the Spaniard to still be in his squad.

“These are decisions a manager has to make, but for me it was a hard decision. I’d love to have him in my squad, absolutely,” Mourinho told BBC 5 Live Radio.

“But to have a player in this situation is hard. He deserves that Chelsea open the door for him [to play regular first-team football].

“I like people to be happy. I’m so sorry I couldn’t make him happy in this squad – I’m so sad with that, but I build my team around Oscar playing as my number 10.”

‘The Special One’ also said that when the World Cup and European Championship winner returns to Stamford Bridge, he will be well received by the Chelsea supporters.

“He’s very classy. I think he’s a player that stays in the fans’ hearts and also in those of his colleagues,” the Portuguese added.

“I’m just with him six months and I like him a lot. Imagine the people who have been with him for three years. He stays in the club history – he won important trophies and people loved him.

“He will come here with a Manchester United shirt on one day and the people will show him that.”

The fill the void left by Mata, Chelsea have sealed a £11m deal for Mohamed Salah from Basel.

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