Tag Archives: juan mata

Juan Mata’s inspiring post gave Man Utd fans belief this season but made one vital error…

Man Utd’s Juan Mata has been posting a blog each Monday for the past six years, recently announcing that they now are posted on Wednesdays. But his post-Crystal Palace blog post contains two very mixed messages…

Juan Mata sets himself apart from the typical footballer by being heavily involved in charitable and societal acts. As well as remaining humble enough to interact and be open with fans. He is a fantastic footballer and a fantastic human.

In his recent post, he addressed his recent contract extension by saying: “Given the situation, it perhaps would have been easier to leave, to accept that I did not arrive at Manchester United at the best point in their history,”

Adding: “However, I believed, and still believe, that it was worthwhile to stay, to work so that this club returns to fighting for big trophies.”

This message certainly gives fans some relief, in that at least one person inside the club seems to care about taking them back to where they belong; the top.

But upon addressing the defeat to Crystal Palace, the humble Spaniard made one fatal error…

What was wrong about Juan Mata’s inspiring blog post?

In his weekly blog, post-Crystal Palace, Mata stated “I would have liked to have been writing after a win, as I have done many times, but that’s not the case and it is something that has to be accepted. Defeats are a part of football, although we feel like this one arrived too soon”.

Crystal Palace had never beaten Man Utd in the 20 occasions they faced each other in Premier League football. Losing 2-1 at Old Trafford to a struggling bottom-half of the table side should neither be tolerated nor accepted at Manchester United.

The issues with the performance were foreseen after the transfer deadline day. A lack of midfield quality will ruin this season for Man Utd, and so far, it has.

By ‘accepting’ this defeat, he is accepting much more. He is accepting a lack of investment, a lack of backing for the manager and that mediocrity is where the club is.

Of course, Mata wants the best for the club and is likely unhappy with the current state of the squad. But accepting a home defeat to Crystal Palace is the beginning of accepting that Man Utd are a mediocre club who have no intention of improving on recent seasons.

Saving Grace

Thankfully, Juan Mata makes some sense in that he says “Fortunately, we have the rest of the season to fix our mistakes and improve”.

Which is entirely true. However, unless Man Utd can magically spawn two midfielders, any improvement is very unlikely.

Man Utd need to rid themselves of Wolves jinx by playing this forward line, agree?

Solskjaer’s Man United has been unable to beat Wolves in his two fixtures at Molineux. However, he didn’t have this forward option last season…

Wolves were a stick in the mud for the top 6 last season. A chart on Reddit shows the Wanderer’s results in a mini-league versus the top 6, where
Wolves place 3rd on thirteen points compared to Man Utd who placed 7th with seven points.

Solskjaer heads to Molineux for his second Premier League fixture of his first full season in charge. But this time feels different for fans and players alike.

After Man Utd’s 4-0 victory against Chelsea, the red side of Manchester is starting to buzz once again.

Man Utd will be facing a defensively sturdy and well-drilled Wolves. They tend to play a possession-based style, as “Ole ball” will see the Red’s forwards chased it down relentlessly.

There is a very specific forward line that can undo the Wolves defence, it goes a little something like this…

Jesse Lingard

Lingard’s natural athleticism gives him the ability to press defenders aggressively and force errors. Fairly similar to undisputed Man Utd legend Ji-Sung Park.

He will drift wide right as Rashford drifts wide left with Martial central, giving space in the attacking midfield for Pogba and/or McTominay.

Lingard will be imperative to way Man Utd press and tire out their defence in order to strike late-game.

These 60/70 minute substitutions will be the Reds clutch the game…

Dan James and Juan Mata

Introducing Dan James towards the end of the game against Chelsea finished the Londoners off. His goal came from a Paul Pogba run towards the box as James’ unmatched pace overlapped him, received the ball, and scored.

With Wolves being tired out by a very fit Man Utd, facing a fresh Dan James would be their worst nightmare.

With Mata introduced, there will be slightly less emphasis on pressing and more picking out passed into the final third. Passes that Dan James will be itching to get on the end of.

Throughout Summer, Juan Mata signed a new contract at Man United, leaving fans concerned about his age and ability. Jesse Lingard’s juvenile personality and lack of consistency gain him negative attention. Dan James has been thoroughly doubted due to coming from a Championship level squad. But all three players will play a huge role in a Man Utd victory over Wolves.

How Solskjaer should set up Man Utd this season with needed youth injection

After a lack of backing from the board, can Solskjaer patch up the squad with the youth in typical Man Utd fashion?

Many Man Utd fans would agree that their youth academy is one of the last aspects of the club they can be proud of.

This pre-season, we have seen the likes of Angel Gomes, Tahith Chong, James Garner and Mason Greenwood but heavily introduced into first-team football. And have by far been the most exciting thing about the club in recent years.

After the transfer window deadline day, Man Utd have been left with a very imbalanced team. The defence looks like the best in the league, whilst without Paul Pogba, their midfield is one of the worst. Attacking options are sparse as Solskjaer expects to achieve top four without any proven goalscorers after losing Romelu Lukaku to Inter Milan.

Pre-season has taught us that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s high pressing and high-intensity football is too much for certain players, such as Nemanja Matic and Ashley Young. Despite being gifted footballers, their lethargic approach let the team down on many occasions. Juan Mata can still offer quality in the final third but is far too slow to keep up with the “Ole ball” style for 30/40 games a season.

What should this Man Utd squad look like on a weekly basis?

It is a fair assessment to assume that Solskjaer wants and needs experience in his side. But in due time, the criticism directed at certain players will become clear to the management, if it hasn’t already. Man Utd could set out with a very, very young squad. That would look a little something like this…

Despite having an average age of under 23 years old, this is one of Man Utd’s strongest squads. Assuming that the Red’s won’t be changing their approach to the sport mid-season.

Mason Greenwood is an important addition, being likened at Robin Van Persie at only 17 years old. He could add at least 10 Premier League goals with a full season. Rashford and Martial should be aiming for a minimum of 15 each.

Angel Gomes is almost like-for-like Juan Mata. Fantastic with his feet and his football brain, what he lacks in experience he makes up for in quality.

This leaves Man Utd’s two best midfielders to run the park. Pogba and McTominay. After no midfield signings were made for the club this summer.

Daniel James can be introduced into any of the front four positions, injecting great athleticism and speed into the team.

Should this starting 11 be frequent this season, and be in full throttle, Man Utd can break the top four. However, with Man Utd’s best squad being very young and Man Utd’s most experienced squad being very bad, there could easily be a few bumps in the road.

Why Lazio midfielder won’t move Man Utd forward should Pogba leave

Man Utd has reached a ‘verbal agreement’ with their Paul Pogba replacement from Lazio. according to the Daily Mail.

Amid rumours of Paul Pogba’s move to Real Madrid, Man Utd are the process of finding a suitable replacement. In pre-season so far, Pogba has been shifted from a more attacking role to a deeper midfield position. Andreas Pereira, Mata and Lingard have been favoured for the attacking midfield role.

Pogba’s deep-lying position allows for an easy replacement should Milinkovic-Savic come into the squad, if the French World Cup winner leaves this summer. Being pushed back to this position may be a result of Solskjaer experimenting with other attacking midfield options due to Pogba’s potential move away.

The two players, Pogba and Milinkovic-Savic, are similar and also interchangeable. Here are two qualities that both players can offer Man Utd next season…

Midfield dominance

Both strong and tall, they are able to dominate the midfield. Milinkovic-Savic spends a lot of time in the midfield action, and could potentially offer even more than Pogba does on the ball. Both in the air and on the ball, they offer solidarity to the midfield and an allow the Reds to win the ball and keep the ball, leading on to their next major quality…


Man Utd has missed a distributing midfielder since the likes of Scholes and Carrick left the squad. Both Pogba and Milinkovic-Savic are more than capable of extravagant and accurate passes. Similar to the ‘cheap option’ Man Utd are looking at in Sean Longstaff.

Milinkovic-Savic, like Pogba, is the heartbeat of his midfield. Both are fantastic at picking out progressive passes, compared to Man Utd’s Nemanja Matic who appears incapable of passing forward.

With the players having a similar style and impact, a direct replacement wouldn’t push Man Utd forward. Therefore, it is necessary that Man Utd do business elsewhere regardless of Paul Pogba’s destination.

Positives & negatives to one of these 3 potential Man Utd Captains

Solskjaer is seeking a leader of men to walk his Man United team out onto the pitch against Chelsea, but who should it be?

Manchester United’s pre-season tour of Australia and Asia has given fans a lot to be excited by, and this burst of energy is being seen on the pitch. The transfer market, however, is looking to a letdown. It appears Ed Woodward isn’t pulling his weight whilst Solskjaer appears to be moving mountains.

The Norwegian manager will have to assume that he will be playing with the hand he was dealt. Man Utd has added two first-team players to the ranks since their abysmal last season.

Out of the divided Man Utd team, concocted of several different minds, Solskjaer must pick one Captain going into the new season.

Who can lead this mid-table squad to success next season?

David De Gea


According to reports, Man Utd are close to announcing the extended contract for goalkeeper David De Gea. An old trick to make fans forget that transfers should be happening. However, keeping the best goalkeeper in the world is exciting news. De Gea joined in 2011, and the 28-year-old goalkeeper is certainly looking to get some silverware in his career. If he didn’t believe he could get that with the Reds, he would most definitely have left for Real Madrid or PSG.


Although not unheard of, Man Utd might not benefit from a Captain being back there in the sticks. Despite having the worst defence Manchester United have ever had in front of him, it doesn’t take an armband for a goalkeeper to arrange them correctly. Man Utd would get more use out of a Captain who is in the thick of it on the field.

Paul Pogba


Many agree that Paul Pogba is Man Utd’s only world-class outfield player. Meaning that he can lead by example, particularly with the youth. Other players would feel more obliged to up-their-game whilst being lead by the talent of Paul Pogba. Man Utd players would feel less to work for when being lead by Ashley Young, who despite his hard work, has done very little right in a Red shirt for many years.


Despite being their best player, he is also the least consistent. For every one game he bosses, he spends five to ten more lost on the pitch. Luckily for his statistics, he really does show up when he plays. However, Pogba has recently admitted that he wants to leave the club. Unless he fully buys into Solskjaer’s rebuild, he shouldn’t even feature heavily this season, let alone wear the armband.

Juan Mata


Juan Mata is one of football’s kindest and most generous souls, as well as being up-there with the talent. With five and a half years under his belt at Old Trafford, his contract could allow for up to three more. Mata is clearly devoted to the club, and many of the younger players will look up to him as an international who has dominated world football in his career.


In pre-season so far, Solskjaer has implemented a high-pressing, high-intensity and high-work rate ethic into his squad. This is something Juan Mata cannot keep up with, losing a yard of pace in recent years. This could result in poor performances and mistakes from the Spaniard, making his leading by example a difficulty for both club and player.

3 ‘Bryan Robson’s’ Man Utd should be looking at to lead the Solskjaer revolution

Solskjaer at a Man Utd press conference

Who can lead this Manchester United squad to victory?

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has stated that Manchester United need a Bryan Robson, to get ‘back to the level we were’.

Current captain Ashley Young is the weakest link in this Manchester United squad, an ex-winger attempting to play full-back. Although his experience is valuable to the team, Man Utd need a ruthless captain who can set the standard for others to follow.

Solskjaer should worry that there are no real contenders for captaincy in his current squad. The captain has to be experienced but also ingrained into the culture of the club. This rules out vocal, passionate and talented youngsters such as Scott McTominay, Marcus Rashford and Axel Tuanzebe. Who could all wear the armband in years to come.

However, Man Utd need a captain right now, and here are three contenders who have the character to drag this United squad to victory…

Harry Maguire

Maguire’s former manager, Craig Shakespeare, said that he could one day captain England. But Maguire could most definitely captain Manchester United. For both club and county, Maguire stands out in the line of defence. He is vocal and talented and would set the standard for the rest of the Man Utd defence. He may not be ingrained in the culture of being a Red Devil, but Solskjaer can’t be choosy when his entire squad are unfit to wear the armband.

Marcos Rojo

This one is a curve-ball, I know. However, a fully fit Marcos Rojo is a rock-solid defender. He is aggressive, vocal and competitive. According to Adam McKola and Stephen Howson, Rojo stood out in training with his aggression and passion and was taking no prisoners. He reportedly lunged into tackles on his own teammates, the stand-out tackle being a two-footed tackle on Nemanja Matic.

Rojo needs more game time to be considered captain, but his character and energy suit the role perfectly.

Juan Mata

Possibly Solskjaer’s best bet. Juan Mata has been at Man Utd for over 5 years, and according to Daily Mail, took a £45,000 per week pay cut to extend his contract for a further two years. Mata is known for his kindness and humbleness, and as a captain, he can employ an atmosphere of togetherness. Mata is Man Utd’s most talented senior player, apart from 26-year-old Paul Pogba, who shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near captaincy after his statement about wanting a “new challenge” away from Old Trafford.

Solskjaer Sees Just How Big a Job He Has at Man United, After Dreadful End To The Season

Man Utd Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Well, the Premier League season as finally come to a close, it was a nail-biting season for some fans, and it came down to the last game to decide who became Premier League champions.

However, if you’re a Manchester United fan, like myself there was nothing to celebrate, in fact, it was a dreadful season, to say the least. After witnessing an utter shambles in the last match of the season at Old Trafford against relegated Cardiff City, it’s clear to see that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has a massive rebuilding job on his hands.

The team needs a massive clear out, there’s a lot of deadwood within that Manchester United team, from back to front, and there are players within the first team that aren’t quite good enough. The defence is shocking, three of the defenders who played in our last game were terrible, Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Ashley Young have simply not been good enough and Ole needs to move them on, recruiting a right back and a centre back to partner Victor Lindelof.

Then there’s the midfield…Paul Pogba gets a lot of stick off the fans which I’ve heard first hand myself. Yes, he’s been inconsistent but it’s not entirely his fault. In my opinion and many Manchester United fans will probably disagree with me, Pogba is a talent but he needs good players around him.

Unfortunately, with Ander Herrera leaving on a free, he hasn’t got good players around him, and I don’t feel Pogba can carry a team on his own.

Just look at our neighbours Manchester City, their midfield consists of four very good players. I want Pogba to stay put and for Ole to build the team around him, recruit one or two creative midfielders to help Pogba and to take the pressure off him.

Scott McTominay isn’t good enough to play in the first team, and Nemanja Matic is defensive, Fred and Andreas Pereira need to step up to the plate.  With Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial upfront and the likes of Mason Greenwood coming through the ranks, if these three starts firing then the attack isn’t too bad, although I’d move Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez on and cash in on them.

The other factor is that the players aren’t fit enough to play the style of football Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants his players to play. There looked burnt out, so first and foremost Ole needs to get the players fitness up to standards where they can maintain fast and attacking football.

Solskjaer will no doubt need to replace departing and departed players such as Herrera and possibly Juan Mata, with rumours circulating about Pogba’s future, Ole may need to replace him.

There’s no doubting that the job Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as got is a massive job, and from what I witnessed at Old Trafford on the final game of the season the rebuilding process is going to take three years. I’m just hoping that the hierarchy at Manchester United stick with Ole, and back him by not becoming a club where we sack are managers willy nilly.

Furthermore, I also worry with Ed Woodward in charge at the club, that Manchester United will never progress. The only way that will happen is if Ed Woodward is sacked, and again I can’t see that happening unless the Saudi Arabia royal family buy the club. Then maybe they will sack Ed Woodward… but one can only dream.