Manchester United put a superb first display to beat Tottenham by 3-0 at Old Trafford on late Sunday afternoon. Juan Mata who started after a long time was influential for the Red Devils as the home side run rampant against a clueless Tottenham outfit in the first half.
Mata who was signed for £37m from Chelsea last January has failed to establish himself as a regular starter under Louis Van Gaal. The Spaniard has featured in 24 appearances this season, 18 of those which were in the starting eleven in the earlier part of this current campaign.
Former Manchester United player and coach Gary Neville who is now working as a pundit for BBC revealed that he is surprised that Van Gaal hasn’t played Juan Mata more often this season.
Mata’s last Premier League start came against QPR in January but his display on Sunday clearly indicated that United have a different dimension when the diminutive play maker features on the pitch. Mata completed 88% of his passes against Tottenham and was equally effective with his defensive contribution, tracking back with intent and using his guile to recycle possession for his side.
Neville in his columns for the BBC wrote, “Mata has also struggled to establish himself [at Man United]. Sunday was his first Premier League start since the middle of January and I am surprised he has not featured more.”
“What he gives the team is control in midfield with the way he uses the ball and he is a goal threat too. He likes to play the ball over the top for the striker or slip balls through and, with Michael Carrick being sidelined recently, United have lacked that sort of guile.”