Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata hails Chris Smalling and Anthony Martial

by Sid Choudhary

Juan Mata has praised the impact made by two of his teammates this season at Manchester United, Chris Smalling and Anthony Martial.

All three players have been key for Man United this season and have played a huge part in ensuring the Reds are just two points behind Manchester City in the Premier League, with the Sky Blues set to visit Old Trafford on Sunday.

Smalling has become one of the best centre-backs in the league and he proved his worth yet again with a monumental display against Everton. The Englishman took care of in-form striker Romelu Lukaku and the Belgian barely had a sniff at goal thanks to Smalling’s exploits.

Martial has quickly become a crucial part of the squad since signing on deadline day from Monaco and the 19-year-old has already started to justify the huge fee United paid for him. He has scored four goals and recorded an assist since making his debut on the 12th of September and Mata has been impressed by both players.

The Spaniard said: “I think Chris has been outstanding defensively – so quick, so strong and he’s given us a lot in the backline.

“Obviously, Anthony Martial is doing great. He’s settled in the team, in the club and the league very well. He’s a very good player, still very young but I think he will be very important for us.”

Mata himself has been at the top of his game, most notably putting on a midfield masterclass when United beat Wolfsburg at home in the Champions League. Since joining United in January 2014, the 27-year-old has been one of the clubs most consistent players and has gone from strength to strength during his time at Old Trafford.

The trio will be hoping they can all keep their places in the side when United visit CSKA Moscow in the Champions League on Wednesday. Mata was brought off at half-time against Everton but Louis van Gaal revealed that there was no injury to the midfielder. The former Chelsea man will want another opportunity to lead United to a European victory and hopefully move to top spot in Group B.

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