Mata: It was an honour to captain Man Utd

by Sam Peoples

Juan Mata was delighted to be named Manchester United captain for Wednesday night’s 1-0 win over Watford.

Following the absence of club captain Wayne Rooney through injury, Chris Smalling and Michael Carrick took turns in handling the role before joining their fellow countryman in the treatment room.

As a result, Louis van Gaal had a dilemma on his hands as he fielded a team consisting of inexperienced youngsters such as Guillermo Varela, Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Marcus Rashford against The Hornets. The Man United boss awarded the armband to Spain international Mata, perhaps unsurprisingly considering his wealth of experience in comparison to his peers on the team-sheet.

Speaking after the Watford game, Mata said: “It was the perfect night for me.

“I’m so grateful and honoured to be the captain today. Obviously we have a lot of injuries but it feels so good. Obviously it was a very tough game for us. We didn’t feel comfortable during the 90 minutes but at the end we won and I scored a good goal so I am very, very happy today.”

Mata came to United following plenty of criticism at Chelsea, although there has been nothing but respect from the Stamford Bridge faithful. It is no surprise that the 27-year-old attracts such fondness when you watch him play or talk about his love for the game.

Talk of Jose Mourinho getting the United managerial position — should van Gaal get sacked — could put Mata’s future at Old Trafford in jeopardy, which is not something many reds will want to consider right now. Previously part of a World Cup winning side, Mata has been deployed out of position time and time again under the Dutchman, but it’s no surprise that we’re seeing better end product with the attacker played in his preferred role.


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