Juan Mata was not included in the starting lineup during Manchester United’s clash against CSKA Moscow in the midweek Champions League fixture. The tie ended in a 1-1 draw as the Premier League giants walked away with a point from their trip to Russia.
It was for the first time Louis van Gaal decided to drop the former Chelsea star on the bench. The Spain international was an unused substitute and the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager has admitted that he wanted to rest the attacker, which forced him to omit from the playing XI.
“I have to rotate. Mata has played almost every game. He needs a bit of a rest,” Van Gaal said, as reported by the Manchester Evening News.
Mata featured in all matches played in all competitions this season so far. The Dutchman’s decision to drop his key player before the most important game was been justified. United played Wolfsburg in the second Champions League group stage clash in later September.
Van Gaal saw his side seal a 2-1 victory over the German side. After the match, Mata came out and side he was tired and United played Arsenal just days after the clash against Wolfsburg.
Against the Gunners, the Old Trafford outfit suffered a humiliating 3-0 defeat. Mata and his teammates had a disappointing display, which led to their defeat. United face Manchester City in the derby and Van Gaal is hoping he can keep his star player in good condition for the Manchester derby.