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Mourinho’s Special Juan on fire as Man Utd look on course for silverware

With Manchester United steadily heading in the right direction since the arrival of Jose Mourinho, Juan Mata has been a key player.

But does Mata get the recognition he deserves?

When Mourinho was Chelsea boss he decided to sell Player of the Year Juan Mata to their Manchester rivals. So when Mourinho arrived at Old Trafford many felt Mata would be first out the door.

Yet despite this, like the true professional he is, Mata got his head down and proved he was worthy of place in the United squad, during the pre-season campaign, this for Jose was enough for him to survive.

Mata seemed very much down the pecking order following the arrivals of Paul Pogba and Henrik Mkhitaryan, but he stayed patient.

After a slow start and with many top players underachieving, Mata did not disappoint when given the chance. A crucial goal in 1-0 derby win against Man City in the EFL Cup helped United on their way to Wembley, but he has been excellent in all competitions.

Mata joined Chelsea in August 2011, meaning the Man United man has played in the Premier League for just over five years. After his strike in the 1-1 draw against Arsenal, he has now scored 42 goals in that time. On top of that, he has assisted 41 times.

That means he has been involved in (i.e. scored or set up) a grand total of 83 goals since August 2011 – and that puts him top of the list of midfielders with most goal involvements in that time. His work seems to go unnoticed by many.

To me, he seems the complete professional. He plays in any position he’s asked to, scores important goals in big games and very rarely gives the ball away.

He is a superb professional and one of the main reasons behind Manchester United’s recent revival.

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Despite sitting sixth for what seems the whole season, I wouldn’t write United off as title contenders just yet. With upcoming FA Cup and Europa League quarter-final and last-16 ties, and with Southampton at Wembley on Sunday for the EFL Cup final, it’s looking highly likely that a trophy will be back in the red half of Manchester this season.

And United fans will have to thank the Special One and his Special Juan of any success that comes their way.

Feel free to follow me on Twitter for more football-related opinions @darrenchapman7.

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