Manchester United playmaker Juan Mata has revealed that he is fully committed to the club and has rubbished talks about him potentially leaving the Red Devils, according to a report on GOAL.
With the addition of Alexis Sanchez to the United squad, it looks like Mata will be the one to be dropped to the bench by manager Jose Mourinho for the remainder of the season.
However, the Spaniard can still expect to be heavily involved with United still challenging in the Premier League, UEFA Champions League and the FA Cup and he himself is remaining positive about the remainder of the season.
Being part of this club is something very special and I can assure you that I keep enjoying every single game like I did with my debut against Cardiff. I’ll never stop thanking you for your support day after day. Thanks to you, being part of this club is really special.
Mata has been linked with a move back to the Spanish La Liga and with his contract expiring in the summer, his future seems uncertain.
United are yet to offer him a 12-month extension option which is in his contract and could lose him for free but the player himself is eager to continue playing for the club.
Mata has hit form in recent months and has been linking up well alongside Jesse Lingard and Romelu Lukaku, which has been pleasing to see for the United fans.
Moreover, Mata will be itching to play as much as possible to ensure he plays a role for the Spain national team in the upcoming World Cup in Russia.
Manchester United take on rivals Manchester City in the Premier League on Sunday at Old Trafford, with the Red Devils knowing that a win will take them only five points behind Pep Guardiola’s men.
City have looked vulnerable in recent weeks, but have continued to pick up crucial wins. Huddersfield Town, Southampton and West Ham United were all unlucky not to gain anything against City but those matches are a source of encouragement for Jose Mourinho.
City showed elements of weakness in those games and if United target these certain areas, then the three points could be won.
1) Set Pieces
It is a well known fact that Manchester City aren’t the best at defending set-pieces and have looked extremely shaky when opposition sides put balls into the box.
United need to have immaculate set-piece deliveries on Sunday and can’t afford any corners or free-kicks failing to beat the first man. Getting a corner against City will be hard enough so when the opportunity arises, the delivery has to be accurate.
Also, besides Vincent Kompany, City don’t have the biggest players, which automatically gives us an advantage. The likes of Chris Smalling, Nemanja Matic and Romelu Lukaku should all feel confident in the air going into this game and of course, there is Marouane Fellaini and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who can also be a nuisance in the air.
City conceded from corners against Huddersfield and West Ham, so it’s their obvious weak spot.
2) Attack their left-side of defence
Losing Benjamin Mendy was a real blow for City. Fabian Delph has covered into the left-back position but when he has come up against good wingers, he’s looked vulnerable. Danilo is also an option to start, but he has struggled to settle in since he moved to City.
The likes of Jesse Lingard and Romelu Lukaku need to peel away onto Delph (or Danilo) and run directly at him to get him on the back foot. Lingard should be confident of beating Delph with ease.
Also, Leroy Sane doesn’t have the best record of tracking back and helping out his full-back so if United try to attack down City’s left as much as possible, it could open up an opportunity to score.
3) Nullify De Bruyne
Kevin De Bruyne has the keys to unlock every defence in the Premier League. However, take him out of the picture and City will have a huge creative hole in their side.
United need Ander Herrera or Nemanja Matic to follow the Belgian everywhere he goes. Herrera may be better suited as he has already done the same job on Eden Hazard last season.
De Bruyne has eight assists in the league but without his creativity, City will find it hard to give service to their strikers and wingers, who thrive off his through balls.
Keep him quiet, which is easier said than done, then we have a great chance of inflicting a first defeat of the season on City.
What do you think? How do you think is the best way to exploit City?
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Lingard, 23, was picked by England boss Gareth Southgate to be a part of the England squad versus Slovenia, along with Manchester United teammates Wayne Rooney, Marcus Rashford and Chris Smalling, while Daniel Sturridge and Jordan Henderson represented Liverpool.
Speaking to MUTV, Lingard said:
“Of course we spoke about it and both sets of players know that it’ll be an intense game.
“I played there last season and it was a massive feeling to be part of the celebrations for Wayne’s winning goal.
“Liverpool have been in good form so far and have scored a lot of goals, which is something we need to be wary of. It’ll be tough because they’ve got a lot talent in their group, but we know we’ve got talent in our own ranks.
“We’ll be pushing to win the game as it’s always good to get one over your rivals.”
The Liverpool V Manchester United derby is just around the corner and Lingard is correct, it will indeed be an intense match and I am sure that we will see goals from both teams.
However, I do believe that Jesse Lingard should NOT be in the starting line-up if we are to win at Liverpool. Click here to read how I think we can beat Liverpool and who I think should play.
And if you haven’t already, click here to listen to our Liverpool V Manchester United podcast special.
How do you think United will fare at Anfield? Do you think Lingard should start the match? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.
Jesse Lingard scores his first goal for Manchester United helping them toward all three points.
The Red Devils score two goals and keep another clean sheet as they continue push for a title challenge.
During the first half United created some decent chances with the first one coming in the 12th minute. Following a patient build up, Michael Carrick showed great vision to place a firm pass through the middle to Wayne Rooney. The United captain was unable to control the ball comfortably and hit his volley up into the stands.
Juan Mata came close just a few minutes later when Wayne Rooney directed a pass into him. Mata hit his shot first time, curling the ball just wide of the far post.
Former Manchester United defender, Johnny Evans, came to West Brom’s rescue in the 41st minute by reading the game well to prevent Lingard from scoring. Anthony Martial played Jesse Lingard in down the left side of the box. As Lingard struck the ball, Evans was in quick to immediately block the shot.
Just before half time, West Brom goalkeeper, Myhill, was called into action to stop an Anthony Martial shot. The United attacker brought the ball down and span his defender but his shot was hit directly at Myhill.
At half time you would have been forgiven for thinking the game was destined for yet another goalless draw. But just 5 minutes in Jesse Lingard punished some lacklustre defending with a fantastic goal. West Brom defender Chris Brunt’s looping defensive header fell to Lingard who controlled the ball perfectly. With a little bit of time he shaped him self up to curl a well placed shot into the far bottom corner. Myhill had no chance.
The introduction of Saido Berahino and Ricky Lambert seemed to lift West Brom as they began to attack searching for an equaliser with 20 minutes still to go.
They had two great chances to draw level but Darren Fletcher, another former United player, couldn’t get his header from a free kick on target and Berahino missed an almost open goal watching his close range header sail over the bar.
Manchester United had a couple more chances to extend their lead with Lingard and Mata in the 73rd and 85th minutes respectively, both trying but failing to hit the target.
In the 91st minute United were able to seal the three points when Anthony Martial was brought down in the box by last man McAuley. Juan Mata stepped up and placed his penalty down the middle. McAuley was red carded as a result of his challenge on Martial.
Over the last two games we have seen an improvement in United’s attacking play. There has been a lot more movement around the box and more chances are being created. But giving the opposition goalkeeper work to do is still something the red devils need to improve on. Today’s game is no exception. Most of Manchester United’s attempts we’re either off target or could not beat the Baggies defence.
The win today keeps Manchester United in 4th place, a point behind Manchester City and Arsenal, who are both yet to play.
What did you think of the game? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below or you can visit The United Stand Fan Forum here to join the post match discussion.
You can also watch the Manchester United V West Brom match reaction on The United Stand’s YouTube channel by clicking here. Or by watching below.
Manchester United Team Sheet
Young (Jones – 62′)
Rojo (Borthwick-Jackson – 76′)
Rooney (Herrera – 82′)