Manchester United’s interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has discussed the interesting new role for Juan Mata in last night’s 2-0 win over Chelsea.
The Spaniard, normally used out wide or as a creative playmaker type in a number ten role, played at the tip of a midfield diamond but was actually given somewhat defensive instructions, it would seem.
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Chelsea midfielder Jorginho has often been highlighted as a weak link in Maurizio Sarri’s side this season, and Solskjaer has essentially admitted he got Mata marking the Italy international tightly, as well as putting pressure on Blues defender David Luiz.
The Norwegian tactician praised Mata’s work rate in this new role, and it shows that there could perhaps be a future for him at Old Trafford after all.
‘Juan did a fantastic job between the two centre-backs and Jorginho,’ Solskjaer is quoted in the Manchester Evening News.
‘He ran his socks off and stopped Luiz when he had to and stopped Jorginho when he had to, and went up to Rudiger a few times, Juan’s work rate was phenomenal.’
It was recently reported by the Times that the 30-year-old could sign a new contract with the Red Devils soon, though it has also been suggested by the Telegraph that he’s not happy with the offer on the table for him.
Despite looking past his peak as an attacking force, Mata can clearly adapt his game and offer something important to Solskjaer’s side, so it will be interesting to see his this performance can lead both sides closer towards an agreement.
It will also be interesting to see if it wins over Man Utd fans who slammed news of a contract extension for Mata in the last few days.