Juan Mata has expressed his frustration following Olivier Giroud’s late equaliser during Manchester United’s 1-1 draw with Arsenal in the Premier League.
Man United dominated from the start against Arsene Wenger’s side and looked on course for a deserved win after Mata put the home side ahead on 68 minutes.
But Giroud’s late header – Arsenal’s only shot of the game – gave the visitors a largely undeserved point, ensuring that United remain six points off fourth.
Mata, speaking after the game, couldn’t hide his frustration at the full time whistle.
“It’s very frustrating,” he said. “We were really close to winning but this is the Premier League and every team fights to the end.
“When you are winning by one goal you are not in control. We have to take positives from the performance.
“We were really close to winning against a great team like Arsenal.
“We had three games, three draws and I honestly feel we deserved to win those games. We would have nine points, instead of three and we would be really, really close to the top.
“But I have to be positive, we have to be positive, and we need to think about the performance and to think if we keep playing like this we will get the points.”
Today’s game was an illustration of football at its cruellest: dominant all afternoon, set to pick up three vital points, and then that happens.
Painful, I know, but once the initial shock wears off United fans will take plenty of positives. This was indeed an example of the cruel nature of the beautiful game, but it was also a demonstration of Mourinho’s men heading in the right direction.
For one thing, the 53-year-old has found his perfect midfield trio: Michael Carrick, Ander Herrera and Paul Pogba. Against an Arsenal side accustomed to dominating midfield battles, they were unstoppable.
The partnership between Mata and Valencia was also devastating, with two differing styles combining to create a powerful dynamic going forward on the right hand side.
Marcus Rashford provided an excellent alternative to Zlatan Ibrahimovic at No.9 with a series of excellent runs and neat touches that pulled Arsenal’s back four all over the pitch.
United fans, despite today’s disappointing result, can be optimistic going forward.