Juan Mata has been facing a strange situation at Manchester United for the last 12 months.
Despite being the club’s former record signing, the Spaniard has constantly been on the bench amidst reports that manager Louis van Gaal does not rate him highly. Mata has been getting chances far and few between. He made his latest chance count the most after scoring a double in the 2-1 victory over Liverpool. The two goals from the former Chelsea midfielder cannot be more significant, as it puts United in pole position for a top four finish ahead of Liverpool and Tottenham.
Since a return to Champions League was the primary objective for the club at the start of the season, Mata may have already repaid his hefty £ 37 million transfer fee with these two goals. Van Gaal rejected suggestions that he does not rate Mata highly. Instead, the Dutchman says that Mata is one of players who gives his best whenever he plays for him. The stars, though, do not lie, as the 26-year-old has played just over 100 minutes more than Angel di Maria, who came to the club at the end of the transfer window.
Mata has not complained about his lack of first-team opportunities and has quietly carried on with the task of improving the team.”Juan Mata was very good. He has always played well with me in my opinion. But sometimes you also need balance in your team and you have to select other players.Now he has played very well and did this position very well.We played very well in the first half. Maybe as good as against Spurs but in second half we didn’t play very well.Like always, when you play against 10 men you forget to press. We had unnecessary ball losses and we brought Liverpool into the game,” said Van Gaal.