Juan Mata dedicates Manchester United victory to Luke Shaw
Published 21/09/2015 | 09:10
Juan Mata has dedicated Manchester United's victory at Southampton to injured team-mate Luke Shaw.
Louis van Gaal's side won 3-2 at St Mary's courtesy of a brace from Anthony Martial and a goal from Mata to finish a 45-pass move.
Southampton had led through Graziano Pelle, who also scored a bullet header as consolation, but United hung on to take three points and move up to second in the Premier League table.
The game was played against the back-drop of a serious injury to Shaw - who moved to Old Trafford from Southampton last summer.
The 20-year-old suffered a double-leg break in the Champions League defeat to PSV Eindhoven on Tuesday night and it remains to be seen how long the England international will be sidelined for.
Mata, who posted an emotional message shortly after the 2-1 loss in Holland, also wanted to devote the win over Saints to Shaw.
"In short, it was an important and very special win," Mata wrote on his official blog.
"Everybody knows that last Tuesday was a bad day for us. Because of the defeat but, especially, because of Luke Shaw's terribly serious injury.
"He was very unlucky and suffered a double fracture of his right leg; all of us felt his pain. That's why we wanted to dedicate a victory to him as soon as possible, to make him feel happy, at least momentarily, and it came this very Sunday.
"I'm sure he will be back stronger, and he will work hard to be with us soon. He was having a great start this season, helping us a lot. All our support to you, my friend, you know we are here with you."
The Spaniard, whose compatriot David De Gea made a number of fantastic saves to help United to the win, was pleased to follow up the disappointment in Eindhoven with a successful return to domestic competition - with the Red Devils closing to within two points of leaders Manchester City in the table.
"I'm very happy for a victory that takes the team to the second position, allowing us to finish the week in a much better way than we started it," he added.
"After the first game in the Champions League group stage. We knew how important it was to win at St Mary's after some of our main rivals had dropped points on Saturday, and we were able to make it.
"Pelle scored again for Southampton and they kept trying, but David was there to make amazing saves, like many other times in the last few years, and so we won."
Defeat will have been hard to stomach for the hosts, who were the better side in the opening 30 minutes, with Pelle hitting the post moments after giving Ronald Koeman's side the lead.
Martial's first goal was controversial as Mata appeared to be offside in the build-up while his second came after he latched onto a woefully under-hit back-pass by Maya Yoshida and the France international has now scored three in three since his deadline day move from Monaco saw him take the record of the most expensive teenager in world football away from Shaw.
Southampton's own last-minute signing Virgil van Dijk suffered his first defeat since joining from Celtic but the Dutchman insists the squad will take plenty from the match.
"Losing is always a terrible feeling," he said.
"I think from defeats you learn the most and that's what we're going to do as well. We're going to talk about it, we're going to discuss it, what we need to do better, and we're going to bounce back - that's what's going to happen.
"I'm a winner and I want to win every game. Unfortunately it didn't happen. As I said, I'm going to bounce back and learn from this and take all the notes I need to take for the next games.
"The upcoming games are very important as well. It starts on Wednesday (against MK Dons), so we're going to bounce back."