When Juan Mata‘s name was called out in the team line-ups inside Stamford Bridge before kick-off, his name was applauded by all of Stamford Bridge.
When Mata was substituted, he was treated to a standing ovation by both Manchester United and Chelsea fans.
After the full-time whistle, Mata was hugged by Chelsea’s players as they re-united for the first time at Stamford Bridge since he moved to Old Trafford.
Has there ever been a more like-able footballer? Ever?
— Garry Hayes (@garryhayes) April 18, 2015
Today wasn’t Mata’s best performance and neither was it United’s. He wasn’t able to dictate play in the same fashion as he has in recent games because he didn’t have his partner in crime Ander Herrera alongside him as he had to play a deeper role following Michael Carrick‘s injury.
Louis van Gaal will be bitterly disappointed United weren’t able to turn their dominant performance into three points but in the grand picture of the season, United are still on course to achieve what they set out to do – return to the Champions League.