Juan Mata thanked Jose Mourinho for the trophies he brought to Manchester United in his weekly blog but also recognised the need for a boost in morale at the club.
The Portuguese was sacked on Tuesday morning after overseeing Man United’s worst start to a league season for 28 years.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s appointment as caretaker manager has immediately raised spirits, with United recording a sensational 5-1 win over Cardiff City on Saturday.
Writing in his weekly blog, Mata was clearly delighted with the direction United were heading in under Solskjaer, but stopped to thank Mourinho for the trophies he delivered during his first season at the club.
“I would like to start my penultimate blog post of the year by wishing all of you who celebrate it a Merry Christmas,” he wrote.
“As you all know, despite there normally being a break for the holidays, we don’t stop. Without doubt, it is one of the busiest times of the year in terms of the amount of games there are in English football. We have two games at Old Trafford and we want to close out December in the best possible way: with two wins.
“Obviously, it has been a different week with the change of manager and I’d like to thank Jose for the trophies we won together and wish him luck for the future.
“As you will all be aware, the legendary Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is our new boss and we couldn’t have started off upon his return to the club in a better way. It was a convincing win against Cardiff and it will raise morale going into the end of 2018 and the rapidly approaching new year.
“It is time for being optimistic, to look ahead and keep working hard to climb up the table. We are really motivated to do so while entertaining our fans, who deserve so much.”
Mauricio Pochettino and Jurgen Klopp have made a seismic impact on their respective English clubs, engendering an enviable style of football and knack of winning games, but it ought to be remembered that much maligned managers like Mourinho, Arsene Wenger and even Louis van Gaal have won more silverware than the highly coveted pair since the 2014-15 campaign, when they both arrived at Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool respectively.
United fans, you suspect, just want to see their team driving forward pace and attacking intent once more, which is why Pochettino serves as such a lucrative option. But make no mistake: whoever takes over in the summer must place winning silverware on the top of their priority list. That is a bare minimum expectation for any United manager.