Juan Mata's absence from the Manchester United's team train to London is explained
Juan Mata is reported to be on his way back from Spain after attending the funeral of his beloved grandfather on Saturday and he is expected to play a part in Sunday’s EFL Cup final against Southampton.
Mata did not board the United team train from Manchester to London on Saturday afternoon, sparking rumours that he was set to miss the Wembley date.
Yet Spanish reports claim Mata was in Asturias this weekend after the death of his grandfather, who he has often credited to be the key role model in his football career.
Mourinho may need to assess Mata’s emotional state before finalising his team selection for the first major cup final of the English season, with Rooney waiting in the wings if Mata is unable to start.
Mata has been one of the more prominent United players speaking in the media ahead of Cup Final, as he told Sky Sports that he is relishing the chance to win another trophy at Wembley.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s a League Cup final…a final is a final and you never know when you will play one again,” stated Mata.
“So you have to take advantage of the chance and try to win it. If you lose it’s a bad feeling.
“A final is always a special day in your career. Obviously if you win it’s much better, but playing a final at Wembley in front of lots of our supporters gives the day a different feeling.
“I consider myself lucky to have won the trophies I have won, but a final is a day you have to be focused on and you need to try not to make mistakes.
“But also you need to try to enjoy it as well. It’s a special day but without enjoying it you cannot perform at your best level.”
Henrikh Mkhitaryan was on board the United team train to London, but the Armenian is not expected to feature against Southampton after Mourinho ruled him out of the game due to a hamstring injury.