Juan Mata has revealed that his desire to stay at Manchester United over the summer was forged from a desire to return the club back to its glory days, while also admitting he has no gripe with Jose Mourinho despite being an outcast during their time at Chelsea.
The Spaniard put pen to paper on a new one-year deal this summer with an option of another year, ending speculation he would depart Old Trafford for pastures new and, subsequently, taking him into his seventh season with the club.
It looked as though the 31-year-old would leave the north-west, but instead he opened the lid on his decision to remain with United, insisting it was a burning aspiration to 'change' the club's current situation and regain that winning feeling that kept him in place.
"Even though I could have taken the easy road and thought 'it is very difficult at this club in this moment and that's it, I prefer to go somewhere else and take an easier challenge,' if I had done that, I wouldn't have been able to forgive myself," he told the Mail.
"I wish it was in a time when we were winning Premier Leagues but I want to change what is happening. We are getting closer. There is no way this club is not going to come back to where it should be. Hopefully that will be with me because that is what I wish for more than anything else right now in my professional career. But if not, it will happen without me."
Mata joined the club from Premier League rivals Chelsea in 2014, for a fee worth £37.1m, with the move coming about after Mourinho had frozen the playmaker out of the Blues' side upon his return. However, just two years after making the move, the Portuguese was installed as the Red Devils' boss, and Mata confirmed that there were no hard feelings when the pair were reunited.
"I have no personal bitterness towards him at all," he exclaimed.
"My football is not perfect for his idea of football. That's what happens. I was at Chelsea, player of the year for two years, everything was rosy and then he arrived with a different approach, which I respect because there is not only one approach in football," Mata added.
"So there was a football reason. I take it like it is. I went to United and after some time, he came to United, too. I feel content and happy with myself because again the easiest decision would have been to leave, knowing his approach and my qualities. But I didn't leave and despite what many people said and wrote, I played more than people expected."