Juan Mata was all smiles in training on Monday ahead of Manchester United’s upcoming UEFA Champions League clash against CSKA Moscow.
The midfielder was taken off at half-time against Everton in a tactical move from Louis van Gaal which was vindicated by Jesse Lingard‘s excellent performance and Man United’s subsequent 3-0 win at Goodison Park.
Other than that, Mata has been a mainstay in United’s side and him being named September Player of the Month for United was richly deserved after he scored three goals and assisted three more in a collection of fine performances.
Mata’s most influential performance in September came against Wolfsburg in the last UEFA Champions League group stage game. His penalty was wonderfully taken but his glorious assist, an outrageous back-heel flick which Chris Smalling duly tucked away, was one of the moments of the season so far.
The same again on Wednesday night against CSKA Moscow wouldn’t go amiss Mata, if you fancy it.
In all seriousness, CSKA Moscow will be a real test for United thanks to the long travel times, cold conditions and the looming Manchester derby at the weekend but when it comes to winning silverware, the road is rarely straight forward so this is a test United’s squad has to cope with.