Pundits, the press, the club and players alike have all heaped praise on Juan Mata’s performance against Newcastle United yesterday.
Mata demonstrated that he is still among the world’s best link-up players on his day, with intelligent runs, decoys and passes that at times resembled a conductor leading his orchestra.
His interplay with Bruno Fernandes was a superb example of how football brains can sometimes work quicker and be more effective than the fastest legs around as they carved numerous opportunities for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men.
It was a contribution that did not go unnoticed.
Speaking on the BBC’s Match of the Day, former Newcastle forward Alan Shearer commented ‘They dominated possession. Mata and Fernandes were so clever I thought, because they just went and stood in those little pockets in the holes in front of Newcastle’s back four and Newcastle couldn’t handle that.
‘They were just too good on the ball, they showed a lot of creativity, everything Newcastle didn’t have.’
United legend Rio Ferdinand took to Twitter to celebrate Mata’s performance, saying ‘Unreal this evening @juanmata8 link up been ??’
— Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5) October 17, 2020
Sky Sports’ Nick Wright was drooling about Mata’s performance. ‘It was Juan Mata who made the difference for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side,’ he said.
‘United’s best attacking performance in months owed more to him than anyone else. The Spaniard was outstanding from start to finish.
‘What he lacks in pace and power, he makes up for in vision and imagination.’
The Guardian’s Louise Taylor said ‘Manchester United began passing and moving in a manner their hosts struggled to second guess with the excellent Fernandes and Juan Mata provoking considerable uncertainty among Bruce’s defence’, while The Athletic’s Carl Anka simply said ‘Excellent stuff from Juan Mata.’
But it was the club and one of Mata’s teammates that summed up the 32-year-old’s performance.
‘On a scale of Juan to 10, how ???? was El Mago tonight?!’ the club tweeted.
‘MOTM Good ?’ Marcus Rashford replied.
MOTM good ?
This summer’s transfer window was at times frustrating and disappointing. So cast your mind back to less stressful days and test your knowledge of past United arrivals and departures in our quiz below.