Manchester United star Juan Mata was central to his side’s 4-0 thrashing of AZ Alkmaar in the final group stage clash of the Europa League.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men started the fixture awfully and were outplayed at home against their stubborn visitors.
Luckily they headed into the break still at 0-0 and whatever was said at half-time made the world of difference as United and Mata improved tremendously.
A 12 minutes blitz saw the Spaniard notch up two assists and a goal not long after being criticised by some fans for the first-half show.
Mata wasn’t the only one who was poor but he did make up for matters soon enough and gave his manager a good kind of selection headache for the Everton fixture.
Juan Mata’s game by numbers vs. AZ:
93% pass accuracy
3 shots (1 on target)
3 chances created
Vintage. 🍷 pic.twitter.com/KXGJqopq90
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) December 12, 2019
As good as Mata was, it’s likely Solskjaer will still pick Jesse Lingard ahead of him as there’s a need for consistency.
The former Chelsea man has to show good form whenever he plays in order to earn himself a start on a more regular basis.
It’s also easier to perform in the Europa League than the Premier League and so Mata has to show he’s still got what it takes at the highest level.
Some feel the experienced midfielder’s best days are behind him but the hope is he can still prove to be a useful squad player.