Zlatan and Rojo both suffered “significant” knee ligament damage during Manchester United’s 2-1 win over Anderlecht in the Europa League and will require surgery.
And Mata, also currently inundated by a long-term injury, was quick to express his support for the pair after they suffered an abrupt end to their campaigns at Old Trafford.
“The last few days have been very good in terms of results but those good feelings have been tarnished by Marcos and Zlatan’s injuries,” he said.
“These situations just happen in football, that’s for sure, although they’re never easy to take… Now it’s time to be patient and strong to face the recovery period and I’m sure both of them will do their best. The rest of the team will support them.”
Every player reacts differently to going under the knife following knee ligament damage: Alan Shearer, for example, basically had his entire knee restructured and continued as if nothing had happened upon his return; other players (Theo Walcott springs to mind) aren’t so lucky.
You sense that Zlatan, in spite of his age, will take to his recovery process – an arduous thing for most people – with the same warrior-like determination he displayed on the pitch under Mourinho. One just hopes that he can maintain the same athleticism after such a long period on the sidelines.
Rojo, on the other hand, should have no problem when it comes to returning to his physical peak. Supporters will just hope that any psychological ramifications of a long term injury don’t arise in the process.