Manchester United fans were satisfied with Juan Mata‘s enterprising performance in their side’s 3-1 win over AFC Bournemouth on Sunday.
The Spaniard, thought by many as surplus to requirements for Jose Mourinho, scored the first goal of the 53-year-old’s tenure, capitalising on a mistake made by Simon Francis in the first half, and was confident, efficient presence on the right hand side.
Man United fans were quick to voice their approval of the 28-year-old.
Mourinho is a genius. Instantly bringing out the best in Mata.
— Gary Lineker 💙 (@GaryLineker) August 14, 2016
Good to see Mata getting the reward for a very clever run
— jb8521 (@jb_8521) August 14, 2016
Mata has effectively ended any transfer rumours linking him out the club
— ManUtdMindset (@ManUtdMindset) August 14, 2016
Of all people, it had to be Mata to score the first goal of the Mourinho era, didn’t it?
The Portuguese’s arrival at Old Trafford led to many assuming an end to Mata’s time at the club. And yet, here he was, producing a diligent, crafty performance in Mourinho’s first Premier League game as United manager.
His inclusion in the starting XI ahead of new signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan initially raised some eyebrows; but as the game went on, Mourinho’s reasoning became clear: having somebody who can control the ball so expertly, pick out teammates and thwart opposition momentum is exactly what was needed against a characteristically energetic Bournemouth side. And Mata carried out the role perfectly, prompting many United fans into wondering what Mkhitaryan – restricted to a 15 minute cameo off the bench – needs to do in order to break into the starting XI.