Gary Neville: Juan Mata has surprised everyone at Manchester United this season

by Tanveer Arayan

Gary Neville insists Juan Mata has surprised everyone at Manchester United this season.

Olivier Giroud’s late equaliser cancelled out Mata’s second-half opener and it was a massive disappointment as Arsene Wenger’s men only managed one effort on target at Old Trafford.

There were doubts surrounding the Spaniard’s future at Man United after Jose Mourinho took over in May, but he has cemented his place in the first-team and produced another spectacular performance on Saturday afternoon.

Speaking about Mata, Neville claims he has adapted well and is doing very well under Mourinho.

“I myself questioned whether he fits the profile of a Manchester United wide player, because that’s where he is playing, even if I know he ends up drifting in,” he said.

“The ability to counterattack and have wing play has always been Manchester United’s way, so you wondered where he would fit in. I have to say that’s been one of the surprises out of the first few months in Jose Mourinho’s reign.

“When Mata came off [against Arsenal] there was a little hug with Mourinho. There seemed to be a level of respect that was not always there when he was at Chelsea, when Mata was ultimately sold.

“He’s adapted well, he’s played well, and he’s always had a good attitude. He’s a top player. At the moment, he’s doing very well. He was the better of the front three on Saturday.”

It’s brilliant to see Mata doing so well at Man United, especially after his role on the team was questioned over the summer.

As Neville claims, he performed the better of the three attacking players alongside Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, showcasing his importance to the United side.

Although Mourinho sold Mata to United while at Chelsea back in 2014, it seems the pair have built quite a bond at Theatre of Dreams.

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