Thursday 27 October 2016

Juan Mata heads to international break "angry" after Manchester United held

Published 03/10/2016 | 04:36

Juan Mata, left, hailed the performance of Stoke goalkeeper Lee Grant
Juan Mata, left, hailed the performance of Stoke goalkeeper Lee Grant

Juan Mata admits Manchester United's failure to put away Stoke has sent him into the international break "angry".

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United dominated the Premier League strugglers on Sunday afternoon but a combination of modest finishing and a man-of-the-match showing from goalkeeper Lee Grant saw them settle for a 1-1 draw.

Mata was among those to be denied by Grant, the on-loan Derby stopper making only his second Premier League appearance at the age of 33, and although Anthony Martial finally did break the deadlock Joe Allen was able to snatch a late equaliser.

Penning an open letter on United's official website, Mata said: "As I'm writing this I'm feeling angry because the team played really well but we didn't win.

"It was a pity, that's the truth. My perception from the pitch was that we were playing a good game, creating chances, passing the ball effectively, but we couldn't complete our job.

"We went for the victory from the beginning, we were better than Stoke and we felt that Old Trafford was supporting our effort. We have to give credit to Stoke goalkeeper Lee Grant for his great performance.

"With only one point instead of three we are not in the best mood to take the international break, but we are aware that, at our level, everything is possible this season."

Mata has more time than most of his club-mates having been left out of the Spain get together this week.

Stoke boss Mark Hughes hailed the efforts of £13million summer signing Allen after the match, with his fellow Welshman impressing again in a more advanced role.

He has often been used as a defensive screen at the base of midfield for club and country, but followed up his recent strike against West Brom with another at the Theatre of Dreams.

This one came from all of two yards as he followed in a David de Gea parry and a deflection off the crossbar.

"It's not often that I have been able to score in consecutive weeks, so I will enjoy this," he told Stoke City Player.

"They weren't the most eye-catching of goals but they all count and I will take them - now I just want to add a few more to my tally over the season."

"It was great to come here and get a point, especially having fallen behind."

Stoke's third point of what has been a disappointing campaign thus far lifted them off bottom spot and Allen hopes it is a sign of good things to come.

"Hopefully we can build on this and really start driving forward.

"I am sure the fans will have seen the progression we have made over the past couple of weeks and will be looking forward, just as we are, with optimism."

Press Association

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