The cameo from Juan Mata vs Copenhagen truly was a thing of beauty. The loveable Spaniard changed the game, booking Manchester United’s place in the Europa League final four.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men were undoubtedly on top, though both sets of players looked exhausted at full-time. A change was needed. The Baby Faced Assassin looked to the bench and called upon the consummate professional, Juan Mata.
Played in a more central role, the ex-Chelsea star was allowed to dictate play with his passing, movement and ability to find space. Within minutes, chances were being created almost at will. The difference was evident and the change-in-tact was something Copenhagen couldn’t deal with.
Then came the all-important moment. It was Mata’s incisive passing that led to a penalty, which Bruno Fernandes duly tucked away.
It was a 30-minute cameo that made me believe in Mata again; though he can’t be stuck out on the wing. He HAS to be played through the middle, no if’s, but’s or maybe’s.
However, the question remains, can he do this in the Premier League still? With his lack of pace, I’d say probably not. The European game suits him perfectly, though. He’s still a super-useful player to have in the squad – but only in certain situations. If he wants to play week-in-week-out football, mind, a move away is probably in his best interests.
It definitely helps when he has confident, talented players in and around him, too. Anthony Martial and Fernandes linked up with the Spaniard wonderfully-well and Copenhagen just couldn’t cope with that trio.
Anyway, it was super-lovely to see the fans heap praise on the United star after his incredible cameo. Rightly so, too.