Manchester United star Juan Mata stole the show in the team’s win over Brighton & Hove Albion in the Carabao Cup round of 16 tie.
The Spanish maestro is well-loved by fans and for a good reason but he proved to be more than just a loveable person tonight.
United beat Brighton comfortably, netting thrice and keeping a clean-sheet despite some nerves from supporters.
Mata was central to everything that was positive in the team’s play and rightfully deserved praise from the fans.
There have been question marks over the former Chelsea star’s role in the first-team but he has answered those spectacularly.
Lovely assist from VdB and cool finish from Mata. Questions were asked over giving Juan a new deal. If he was still a starter for us regularly in the league, fair enough. But actually in this role, coming in for cup games, he's showing he can make a difference. Good squad player. pic.twitter.com/xC4MpyAAk2
— Scott Patterson (@R_o_M) September 30, 2020
Surely still a place for Juan Mata in Man United's squad. Creativity, movement, delivery and vision can be vital, even if it's off the bench. Still a wonderful player. Another crucial save from Henderson.
— Rob Dawson (@RobDawsonESPN) September 30, 2020
Job done. We always need the A team lol! VDB quality along with Mata to 🙌🏾
— Flex (@FlexUTD) September 30, 2020
Mata more goals than Werner pic.twitter.com/4njcS71zH6
— Ché (@UtdChe) September 30, 2020
Juan Mata is still fucking brilliant. The way he went past Dan Burn, went on to win the free kick and delivered a superb ball for McTominay to score. Quality stuff.
— Red Devil Bible (@RedDevilBible) September 30, 2020
Juan Mata steps up everytime when he's asked to, fantastic player and example to the squad
— ManUtdMindset (@ManUtdMindset) September 30, 2020
Juan Mata in these cup games feels like your cool older brother chaperoning your field trips in school.
— cheekyballboys (@cheekyballboys) September 30, 2020
While Mata isn’t seen as the ideal starter in Manchester United’s attack, his performances of late have shown he deserves to at least be involved in the conversation.
The experienced midfielder may end up proving his role is better off as a squad player but he does warrant starting the next fixture purely based on form.
Nonetheless, Mata is not one of the players who are considered deadwood as he still contributes, as shown by his latest performances.
When the goals and assists run out then perhaps it’s worth reconsidering his position but for now, he has a role to play in Solskjaer’s United.
This summer’s transfer window has been one of the strangest in living memory. So cast your mind back to less stressful days and test your knowledge of past United arrivals and departures in our quiz below.