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Pundit tells Solskjaer the player Manchester United can’t afford to keep on the bench

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been told he cannot afford to keep playmaker Juan Mata on the bench at the moment.

The veteran Spaniard showed his old quality with a superb assist for Marcus Rashford as United thrashed Norwich City in the Premier League this weekend.

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Despite not always hitting peak form in his time as a Man Utd player, Mata clearly still has great vision and quality and that’s something many of Solskjaer’s other attacking midfielders lack.

Mata’s fine performance against Norwich earned him a place in Garth Crooks’ Premier League team of the week, and the pundit told BBC Sport he thinks Solskjaer cannot afford not to make the former Chelsea man a more important part of his team.

He said: “The ball for Marcus Rashford to score Manchester United’s opening goal against a soon-to-be-ravaged Norwich City was wonderful.

“There are few players in the Premier League capable of delivering such a ball – but Mata is one of them.

“The former Spain playmaker looked up, saw what Rashford saw, and played a pass that rendered everyone in the ground – including the entire Norwich defence – as spectators.

“Manchester United are simply not good enough to keep a player of Mata’s quality on the bench these days. When is Ole Gunnar Solskjaer going to realise that?”

We’re not sure most United fans will agree with this after one good performance against a team like Norwich, but it will be interesting to see if Mata can begin to work his way back into the team on a more regular basis.

Much of that will surely depend on MUFC’s transfer plans this January, with a creative midfield player likely to be high on the club’s agenda.

Bruno Fernandes has been strongly linked with a move to Old Trafford by the Mirror and others, so he’s definitely someone who could threaten Mata’s first-team chances.

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