By Amir Mir

Manchester United manager Jose Mourniho has stated that he expects Everton target Juan Mata to stay at Old Trafford and fight for his place.

The attacking midfielder was sold by Mourinho to United in 2014 when the Portuguese was Chelsea manager.

The Spain international’s future has been in doubt since Mourinho’s arrival with Everton reportedly making a £21million move for the highly-rated midfielder.

But, the former Real Madrid boss was quick to quash those rumours by stating the player has a future at United.

“He’s here and he works hard,” said Mourinho as quoted by Sky Sports on Thursday night. “He knows that I know he is a good player and he has space in the squad.

“Until August 31 the market is open for every one of my players that is not happy, but to be fair I think he is [happy].

“I think he is happy and I am not expecting him to ask to leave. I am expecting him to do what he is doing now, which is to fight for a place.”

Mata was left out of Spain’s Euro 2016 squad, despite scoring 10 goals and supplying 11 assists for a defensive minded team last season.

The 28-year-old won back-to-back Chelsea player of the year awards in 2012 and 2013 while at Stamford Bridge, when he was widely recognised as one of the best attacking players in the Premier League.

He was an immensely popular player with fans at Chelsea and is also highly respected by the Old Trafford faithful.

Everton supporters have expressed their delight at their club being so strongly linked with Mata in recent weeks.

Recently appointed manager Ronald Koeman has seen his interest in Zenit St. Petersburg midfielder, Axel Witsel hit a stumbling block over contract issues as the Dutchman looks to add strength to the Toffees midfield.

In other Everton transfer news, this £13.5 million flop is a target for a European club who are interested in bringing the striker out on loan.