Thursday 14 December 2017

Juan Mata comes up with a novel excuse for United's defeat at Stoke... the wind

Juan Mata walks off the pitch after United's defeat to Stoke
Juan Mata walks off the pitch after United's defeat to Stoke

Jack de Menezes

Juan Mata has claimed that Manchester United did not deserve to lose the Premier League encounter with Stoke on Saturday, and admitted that the wind at the Britannia Stadium did not help their performance.

Mata was making his second appearance for United following his debut in the 2-0 victory over Cardiff last week, but his happiness at his move to Manchester was soon soured after David Moyes’ side suffered another defeat thanks to a Charlie Adam double.

The Spaniard felt that United had edged the game, and hopes that their luck changes as they can’t afford to lose such matches if they are to recover from a poor first half of the season to reach the top four.

Writing on his personal blog One Hour Behind, Mata said: “The week started with a victory against Cardiff. It was my first game with United, and it was in Old Trafford. I can assure you that I will never forget that night. The reception from the fans was unbelievable. And the ovation when I was substituted, amazing. You get goose bumps…

“Unfortunately, we didn’t win our second game of the week, in Stoke. It’s a tricky stadium, and the wind was not a good help to play football, but I honestly think that we didn’t deserve to lose. We were really unlucky with their first goal, and it reflects what the game was.

“We tied the score and we felt we could win, but right afterwards we conceded a second goal in a divided ball. We had good chances, yet we couldn’t score. We went back home with no points, feeling that we just can’t lose this kind of games again.

“I hope that piece of luck we are missing will come to our side, because we are struggling even with injuries. In Stoke, our two centre-backs had to leave the pitch before halftime. However, as I said before, I’m sure we will start a good streak and get better results.”

It seems Mata is still coming to terms with a cold and rainy day in Stoke (the Britannia was actually a picture of a beautiful spring afternoon on Saturday) but he’ll have to get used to the weather having departed London the north (well, north of the capital at least).

The Spaniard also wanted to answer questions he had received as to why he chose the number eight shirt over the prestigious number seven,  and explained that it is an important number to him that he hopes brings him luck during his time at Old Trafford.

“Many of you are asking me about the number 8 on my shirt,” Mata wrote. “I think it’s a nice and important number, and I hope it brings me luck!

“What a coincidence: this is the eighth day since I signed with United. Very intense days, and very emotional as well. It’s not easy to assimilate all this in such a short period, but it becomes easier with your help. The truth is I feel very comfortable on the pitch with my team mates. More and more after every game…”

He also took a moment to pay tribute to former Spain manager Luis Aragones, who passed away last week aged 75. Aragones led Spain to their first major trophy in 44 years when they triumphed at the 2008 European Championships.

“The worst news of the week was the death of Luis Aragonés,” mata admitted. “It was shocking to all of us. He managed the Spanish team that won the Eurocup in 2008, and he was someone who understood how to play in order to get the best performance of the Spanish players.

“He initiated the best era in the history of Spanish football. He managed a lot of clubs, and he was also a very important player, so he leaves a great legacy behind. I will never forget that final in Vienna that I watched from Oviedo and lived like any other fan. Rest in peace Luis, and thank you for everything you have given to our football.”

Irish Independent Sport Star Awards

Pick our magic sports moment of the year and win a trip for two to London. To view the shortlist and cast your vote click here.

Online Editors

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport