Juan Mata has sent a message to Manchester United supporters after making his long awaited return from injury during the 1-1 draw with Swansea City on Sunday.
The Spaniard underwent groin surgery over the March international break and Jose Mourinho, speaking ahead of the win over Chelsea, noted that he wouldn’t recover in time to aid his side in their hunt for a Champions League spot this season.
However, the 28-year-old, much to Mourinho’s gratitude, made himself available for a place on the bench in time for the clash with Swansea. He was, in the end, an unused substitute as Man United dropped more points at home.
And Mata, writing in his weekly blog, was quick to thank supporters for their kind words during what was a month-long recovery process.
“This week we’re having a mix of good and bad feelings once again, the latter being, of course, the draw against Swansea and Luke and Eric’s injuries,” he wrote.
“In this regard we’re being very unlucky, but we have to keep looking ahead. As for the game, we let two points slip away, again, when the win so much needed…
“But there have been very good moments during the week as well, such as my being back with the team, and also my birthday.
“Thank you so much to all of you for your messages, it was a great day and, despite I didn’t get the present of the three points, I hope we can have a great season ending in the remaining few weeks…
“As regards to my recovery, I’m very happy and looking forward to helping the team in such an important moment of the year, enjoying myself on the pitch and, hopefully, lifting another trophy.”
With Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Eric Bailly, Luke Shaw, Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Marouane Fellaini all unavailable, it is hard to be positive about the wellbeing of this United side, especially as more games continue to pile up over the next few weeks.
But the return of Mata, amid the gloom of a growing list of injuries, is indeed a valuable silver lining to hold on to. His subtle craft on the ball, at a time where tired legs hamper fluidity, could be vital on Thursday when Mourinho’s men embark on the first leg of their Europa League semi-final against Celta Vigo.