Ex-Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher believes that Juan Mata should get much more appreciation for his displays. The Manchester United midfielder scored United’s only goal against Arsenal as the Gunners somehow managed a draw through Olivier Giroud’s last-gasp header. Mata has been one of United’s most consistent players since his arrival from Chelsea.
The playmaker has been involved in 55 goals for the Red Devils. To everyone’s surprise, he has been Mourinho’s first choice this season as he has already racked up 10 appearances in the Premier League. Mata reportedly had a fall-out with the Portuguese manager when the latter was at the helm of Stamford Bridge and decided to sell him to one of their rivals.
Carragher thinks that Mata doesn’t get the respect what he should have got, “I think we’re looking at one of the most underrated players in the Premier League.
“I think the reason he doesn’t get that credit the others get is that he played his first two years here with Chelsea, then [Jose] Mourinho comes in – the ‘best manager in the world’ – and gets rid of him so everyone thinks ‘Mourinho can’t be wrong, so there must be something wrong with Mata’.
“He goes to Manchester United, but he’s not a Manchester United player, he hasn’t got any pace and the fee is well over the odds for him. But what No 10 has got pace?
“I think it’s about time now that we start looking at Mata in these group of players – Kevin De Bruyne, Philippe Coutinho, David Silva, Eden Hazard – as one of the top players in the Premier League, which he is and has been.
“He’s played almost as much as anyone against ‘big six’ opposition, only bettered by Silva, so we’re not talking about a run of seven or eight games when he’s had a bit of luck and got a few goals.
So he’s getting more goals than those players in those positions. Silva only has more assists and we talk about those players and the influence that they have, but this is where it is important, in those big games.”