Juan Mata full of praise for Manchester United’s spirit against Chelsea

by Leo Nieboer

Juan Mata has expressed his delight at the way Manchester United came from behind to beat Chelsea at Old Trafford in the Premier League on Sunday.

Jose Mourinho’s men started the game flatly, unable to circulate the ball fast enough to move Chelsea’s back three out of position, and the visitors – crisper on the ball during the opening stages – went ahead through a brilliant counter-attack spearheaded and rounded off by Willian.

But the hosts recovered superbly, taking just seven minutes to respond with an intricate move culminating in Romelu Lukaku’s goal, before the Belgian provided a superb assist for Jesse Lingard in the second half to crown a dominant second half performance.

And Mata, who didn’t feature against his former club, noted in his blog that Man United displayed impressive fighting sprit to come back against the champions.

“It’s just a few hours since I came home from Old Trafford after playing Chelsea, a game that is special and will always be special for me,” he said.

“It was an even game, very intense too, and we managed to win and to get three points that are very important for us.

“A victory at home is always more satisfying because as soon as you leave the dressing room you see everybody around, your fans…, and they all have happy faces.

“It’s a great feeling, even more after a comeback against such a good team. We were able to recover despite Willian’s goal to get the three points that keep us in the second place of the table.”

What was most vital about United’s win over Chelsea was not that it came against a member of the big six, or that it returned them to second place, but rather the fact that it came after going behind – something United have been so poor at recovering from this season.

This was only the second time they came back from behind to win a Premier League game this season; the first time they produced a comeback win over a member of the top six since the 4-2 win over Manchester City in April 2015.

Put simply, on an occasion which demanded something different and with more substance from Mourinho’s men, they provided exactly that, and supporters will hope it serves as a precursor for similar performances over the next few weeks.

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