The Red Devils have struggled to find the back of the net on a consistent basis this season and are short of options in the centre forward role following the departures of Robin van Persie and Javier Hernandez in the summer transfer window, which has left captain Wayne Rooney as the only genuine option to lead the line.
The England international has been forced to sit out United last two games against Liverpool and PSV Eindhoven, with Marouane Fellaini taking his place during the 3-1 victory over their bitter rivals and then summer signing Anthony Martial was handed the lone striking role in the Netherlands on Tuesday night.
Neither player proved they can be considered as suitable long-term solutions in that position and United legend Paul Scholes expressed his disappointment with the lack of firepower at his former club.
However, Mata, who has netted once this season, is adamant that competition for places will bring out the best in the club’s attack-minded players:
“It is tough but I think every player needs that competition to grow as a player. You must not fall asleep and take your position for granted. The competition helps us a lot,” the Spaniard told the club’s official website.
“You get more used to the players, you get more used to the movement of your team-mates, but I also think it’s good for me and any player to be able to play in different positions, not just on the right or left or as a no.10.”
“I have played in those positions a lot in my career but I think I can play in every position offensively in the team and I think that’s good for me to grow as a player,” Mata added.
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