Juan Mata has insisted that his Manchester United teammates are not getting carried away despite recording their third 4-0 win of the season against Everton on Sunday afternoon.
Jose Mourinho’s men needed to respond to the marker laid down by Manchester City on Saturday and they wasted no time asserting themselves against Ronald Koeman’s side, making a rapid start and going ahead through an explosive, unstoppable strike from Antonio Valencia with just four minutes on the clock – his first Old Trafford goal since 2014 and, well, it was worth the wait. And United continued to pen Everton further back and should have doubled their lead through Romelu Lukaku, but the Belgian fired wide of the post against his former club.
After the break, United appeared strangely lethargic, while Wayne Rooney – making his first appearance at Old Trafford since leaving over the summer – and Tom Davies started to probe gaps on the right hand side and force David de Gea into making a couple of important stops. Mourinho threw on Jesse Lingard and Ander Herrera in response, Mata struck the post with a free kick, and, soon enough, the hosts took control. Lukaku’s pin-point ball was expertly tucked away by Henrikh Mkhitaryan after 82 minutes, killing the game off completely and paving the way for the Belgian to further punish his former club with a poacher’s finish before Anthony Martial once again had the final say after winning a penalty in injury time.
United now average over three goals a game in the Premier League, claiming 16 from five matches. They have already managed almost 30% last season’s meek total and sit joint top of the table with Man City. But Mata, writing in his weekly blog, has made it clear that Mourinho’s men will continue to keep their heads down and focus over the next few weeks.
“The game last Tuesday against Basilea was special because it was the club’s return to the Champions League,” he wrote.
“The way we won gave us not only three points but plenty of confidence as well. The game was not as easy as the score indicates, but I honestly think that we deserved the victory. And the same can be said about this Sunday’s game against Everton. We had a very strong start in the first half –by the way, what a superb goal from Antonio, the goal of the season so far!– and we kept the 1-0 advantage until the last few minutes, when we managed to score more goals to seal the victory.
“I want to highlight Wayne Rooney’s return to Old Trafford. He’s part of the Manchester United legend and the crowd gave him the ovation that he deserves when he was substituted. Seeing that respect from our fans in the stadium to our former captain was really moving. It makes you feel proud of belonging to this club. I think Wayne has still a lot of things to say in football and I wish him the best for the rest of the season.
“We are happy, for sure, but we keep the euphoria away from the dressing room. Inside, we remain calm, with our feet firmly on the ground. We haven’t won anything yet, this is just the beginning and with such a busy schedule there’s no time to slow down and relax.”