Paul Scholes has poured praise on Juan Mata for his influential performance against Manchester City in the derby at the weekend.
Mata was sparingly used by Louis van Gaal earlier this season but his recent performances have made it impossible for United’s boss to take him out of his starting XI and Scholes is happy for him.
“For all the attention after the derby win over Manchester City on Fellaini and Young, a lot of the credit has to go to Mata,” Scholes said in his latest column.
“He has given United such composure. He is not a winger, in the conventional sense, but he comes inside and gets involved in the game. He always passes to a red shirt and he is so cool, as you saw with his finish against City.”
Scholes sums up Mata’s style of play perfectly. He is cool, refreshingly so, like a gentle wind, and he most certainly is composed, that is one of his redeeming features. Like Carrick, Mata never looks overly flustered and he really is an elegant footballer to watch.
We’ll be the first to hold our hands up to say we criticised Mata earlier this season. When he was given an opportunity following Wayne Rooney‘s suspension, he simply didn’t take advantage of it. The criticism was just and fair.
In the no.10 role, his defensive frailties were exposed and van Gaal didn’t like it. Now that he has been stationed out on the right-wing, Mata has much more freedom and now that he is allowed to concentrate on attacking, United are reaping the rewards.
Saturday will be a special occasion for Mata going back to Chelsea and given the form he is in, there is every chance he will mark the day with a goal or two.