Juan Mata: Manchester United fans deserved Leicester City thrashing

by Tanveer Arayan


Juan Mata insists Manchester United fans deserved the joy of seeing their side thrash champions Leicester City in the Premier League on Saturday.

A rapturous 20 minute spell saw Jose Mourinho’s side storm into a 4-0 half time lead through goals from Chris Smalling, Mata, Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba.

Leicester responded with a goal from Demarai Gray after 59 minutes as Jose Mourinho’s side took their foot off the gas, but the game was decided by an emphatic first half performance from the home side.

Writing in his weekly blog, the Spaniard expressed his enthusiasm over delivering such an incredible result to supporters.

“Each goal came in a different way; we showed that we are a team with a lot of potential, with different ways to score goals, and we have to take advantage of that. The crowd in Old Trafford was really excited, in a way I hadn’t seen for a long time, and that’s what our fans deserve,” he said.

“Being able to play and win like that is a special feeling. You can feel the crowd connecting with the team, and it seems that everything just flows. In general we got very positive feelings and a boost of confidence to play the next couple of games before another international break.

“We have two games again this week. On Thursday we play against Zorya Luhansk, from Ukraine. Perhaps they are not very well known, but they are second in their league with only one defeat so far. We will get to know more things about them in the next few days to prepare for the game. The first week they got a draw against Fenerbahce; they are not in this competition by chance.”

Mata’s importance to this Man United side can be easily overlooked. His style differentiates from the emphatic, jugular-grabbing approach of Rashford, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Anthony Martial; the Spaniard operates like a silent assassin, employing a ‘death by a thousand cuts’ method in his assault of the opposition.

And against the champions, Mata played a fundamental role in putting together one of the finest first half performances – perhaps the finest – of the post-Fergie era. He moved the ball quickly and diligently, always placing emphasis on playing positively, and capped off a sumptuous move with his second goal of the season.

Such a performance would have seemed overwhelmingly unlikely upon Mourinho’s arrival to the club, with many believing the Portuguese’s arrival signalled the end for Mata. But the 28-year-old has quickly enmeshed himself into the fabric of this current squad, and a positive future appears to lie ahead.

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