Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has expressed his delight over the performance of midfielder Juan Mata in the 1-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers in the FA Cup third round replay.
The Spaniard has largely been a squad player with the Red Devils over the past 18 months but of late, he has made back-to-back starts for the club in all competitions, where he has impressed.
Mata made a statement on his return to the starting XI against Norwich City in the league with a couple of assists and he managed to impress once again by scoring the winning goal against Wolves.
Against Nuno’s side, Mata had a 91 percent pass accuracy (whoscored) and besides this, he managed two key passes and three shots on goal – with the last one finding the net after his clever dink to beat the goalkeeper.
Speaking after the game, Solskjaer was undoubtedly impressed with Mata’s showing on the day and talked about the influence of the playmaker in the dressing room.
“I’m delighted for him. I am delighted by his influence in the team at the moment. He has been absolutely top in the dressing room and around the place,” he was quoted as saying by the club’s official website.
Mata has certainly shown an improvement in terms of his workrate compared to the first half of the season and he has reaped rewards with two assists and one goal from the past two appearances.
Still, it can’t be denied that the midfielder is entering the final phase of his career and there remains question marks where he can sustain the current run of form for an extended run of games.
Bruno Fernandes is currently the club’s preferred target to provide the regular goalscoring threat from the attacking midfield role but so far, no deal has been struck with Sporting Lisbon over the transfer.