Juan Mata was instrumental in Manchester United’s winning start to the season on Friday night. The Spaniard, in his fifth full season at Old Trafford, set up his team’s second goal against Leicester City with a delightful pass to Luke Shaw before the defender struck the back of the net. Mata was in good form alongside Alexis Sanchez and Marcus Rashford up front in the 2-1 win, and linked well with midfield on several occasions.
The former Chelsea forward, who joined United in January 2014, is under no illusions as to the size of the task that awaits them this season, with Manchester City expected to provide stiff competition to any side wishing to challenge for the Premier League title. Still, he offered a positive note after Friday’s victory.
“To start the Premier League with a win is always good,” said Mata on his personal blog. “Both for our league position and for the confidence it breeds within the team. Preseason could have gone better or worse, but the important thing is the league, that’s where we have to measure up well. We know that it’s still August, we know that there is a lot to improve on and on top of that we have teammates that haven’t been back involved with the team for long. Patience and calm is needed. We now have a week to prepare for our first away game of the season in Brighton.”
Mata also took the time to offer a reflection on his time in the English game, as he starts his eighth full campaign in the Premier League:
“Looking back, this is now my eighth season in England. It’s the league that I’ve played in the most and I want to give my thanks to the clubs, as well as the division itself, and especially to you guys, the fans. I enjoy playing in the Premier League a lot. I like the style of play, I like the organisation and above all, I like the atmosphere in the stadiums. I will never get tired of saying it, the support that a player gets here is fantastic, and honestly, you have to be thankful for being able to experience something amazing like this in your career. At the end of the day, football without you all, and without the passion that it brings, it wouldn’t be the sport that we know and love today.”