The Blues host Spurs at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday in a crucial clash in the race for Champions League places, in a match marking the Portuguese coach's first return since being sacked last February.
Mata believes that Villas-Boas worked hard to deliver for Chelsea and has credited the coach with building his confidence after moving to West London last summer.
The Spaniard told The Mirror: "I hope Andre gets a nice reception because he tried the best he could for the club, and for me personally he was the man who I came with.
"He gave me confidence, and I think he is a very great person as well. When I first came he game me confidence, he helped me to settle down and yes, I think he is a great manager, and a good person for me."
Mata has scored 19 goals for Chelsea in all competitions this season, including an important late winner against Manchester United last weekend.