Mata made his name in the Premier League as a No.10 at Chelsea but he has largely played on the right wing under van Gaal at Man United.
The Spaniard has impressed in spurts but he does have a tendency to go missing at times. Mata revealed that he always looks to play the same game wherever he is on the pitch.
“It doesn’t matter the position that I play, I always try to play between the lines,” Mata said.
“My game is to get into those little pockets and try to make the team play. This season I’ve played more on the right side but as long as I play I’m happy because I think I can help the team.”
Mata has endeared himself to fans off the pitch due to his willingness to connect to supporters but there is a sense that he should be doing more for United.
The 28-year-old’s vision and creativity is top class but he is not as nimble and agile as players such as Manchester City’s David Silva or Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil.
His lack of pace, too, sometimes lets him down as it slows down United when they look to launch a counter-attack. Van Gaal has preferred Jesse Lingard recently and the Englishman’s pace has seen him link up more with Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial. Mata will be hoping for better moving forward.