Friday 15 December 2017

David Moyes praises Juan Mata's versatility after impressive debut

Manchester United's Juan Mata in action last night
Manchester United's Juan Mata in action last night
Manchester United's Juan Mata (left) and Manchester United's Robin van Persie suuport each other last night

Mark Ogden

David Moyes said that Juan Mata proved his ability to become Manchester United's creative force after inspiring the 2-0 victory against Cardiff City on his debut.

The Spaniard, a £37.1million club-record signing from Chelsea, created one goal and started the move for the second before Adnan Januzaj replaced him in the 84th minute.

Mata played in a central role behind Robin van Persie on the Dutchman’s return from injury, but Moyes insisted that the 25-year-old was capable of influencing the team in any position.

“I thought Juan did really well, I thought he created some really good openings,” Moyes said. “What he will do is take the ball, but he will get used to us and we will get used to him. I can play him in any role.

“I can play him off the left, I can play him off the right, which allows me to keep Robin and Wayne [Rooney] as a partnership.

“I am quite comfortable with that, and if at any times I need him to do another job, such as the number 10 role, he is capable of doing that.

“I wanted to see him and Robin out there tonight and it was good to get them minutes, but the results with them will get much better. We need to get them in the right physical condition now to make that happen.”

Mata enhanced United’s ball retention, but Moyes insisted that there remained plenty of room for improve­ment. “I hope we will play better, that would be the biggest thing, and I hope we are going to create more chances,” Moyes said.

“Goals change games and some of our play has deserved goals and we have not finished it off. But that’s what Robin has done and that’s what we have missed because having goalscorers can change games.

“My mood has improved because I know I have some really good players coming back, but I still want to be more convincing. I want to win better and play much better. Don’t think because we have won that means I have a smile and I am happy.”

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