Juan Mata has made it clear that he hopes to return to fitness at Manchester United before the end of the season, noting that he was “feeling much better”.
The Spaniard, who has ten goals this season, underwent groin surgery over the international break; some reports claimed he would miss the rest of the season, whilst others predicted a return ahead of Man United’s May fixtures.
Jose Mourinho seemingly put an end to prospects of a swift return prior to United’s clash with Chelsea by noting that Mata would only return by late May.
But the 28-year-old, writing in his weekly blog, was adamant that he would return before this season came to a close.
“As you can imagine, this month has been a bit too long for me due to my injury. I had never been in a situation like this before. I’ve been very lucky,” he said.
“But the truth is I’m feeling much better now and I hope to be back with the team soon, to try to help in the last spell of the season. I hope so, because that’s all I want: being always available to help and to contribute as much as I can, both on and off the pitch.
“A million thanks for all your messages wishing me a speedy recovery, I’m getting closer!
“There’s no truce in the calendar and this very Thursday there’s one of those games that every player likes to play: the Manchester derby. Away this time, but we know that, with the top of the table so tight, this is another big chance to make an important step in our fight and keep climbing.”
The tale surrounding Mata’s return date is growing in ambiguousness every day: it seems like nobody – including the Spaniard and Mourinho – can agree on when exactly he can realistically expect to restore himself to the starting XI at Old Trafford.
Supporters will desperately hope to see Mata – a mesmerising force in Europe this season and indeed a Europa League winner already – restore himself to the starting XI in time for United’s clash with Celta Vigo on May 4. It promises to be a tight race against the clock.