Not loved at Chelsea and not loved at Manchester United, or it would seem to be. Juan Mata’s career in England seems to be going from one low to another despite putting in some great performances for his other English side.
Mata did come with a reputation of being a playmaker and a passer of the ball, not someone who runs about and makes it difficult for the opposition but he did change his gameplay under Jose Mourinho first and then under Louis van Gaal also.
The 27-year-old hasn’t had the greatest of reputations in the Premier League but he is one of those players who does give his all on the pitch and does whatever is asked of him. True he does not pick up man-of-the-match awards on a regular basis but Mata is one of those unheralded heroes who just does not get the credit he deserves.
Mata has scored five Premier League goals this season, only one behind Mesut Ozil. The Spaniard also has four assists to his name but that is not the only good thing he has done for the side this year. Manchester United as a unit have struggled this season but Mata is one of those rare bits of quality that have kept the team chugging along.
The Spanish star has had to deal with adversity while in England, he was chucked out of the Chelsea team and during various matches it seems that the same will happen to him at Manchester United as well but the problem or the good thing about this is the fact that Mata does turn it around and produce a good performance.
Mata might not be someone like a Mesut Ozil or a Philippe Coutinho who produces a moment of magic and is on the front page of the newspapers, though he did have an excellent game against Liverpool last season at Anfield, those super games for the Spaniard have come few and far in between.
Juan though puts in the shift that everyone would want to see from an English footballer. Doing the job that is needed of him and not trying to be the star. Mata should be played more centrally rather than on the wings and that is where he would shine.
He was wasted at Chelsea and sold, though the decision by Jose Mourinho at that time was vindicated as he picked up a Premier League trophy with the Blues, Manchester United need someone of Mata’s calibre to perform regularly but in the right position, he is someone who can change games and well, most of the teams in Europe would love to have him.