Juan Mata was Manchester United’s captain in our 1-0 win over Watford in the week. With Wayne Rooney, Chris Smalling, Michael Carrick and Bastian Schweinsteiger all unavailable, the Spaniard was giving the captain’s armband. Louis van Gaal has insisted this wasn’t a difficult decision for him though, given Mata’s experience.

It was not difficult because I have an elder group of players with whom I’m talking about aspects of things – training sessions, meetings or how we have to approach players and so on. Juan is a member of that group with the three captains – Rooney, Carrick and Smalling – and Schweinsteiger as well, so it was an easy choice for me.

Following the game, Mata spoke of his pride at being chosen for the captaincy.

It was very good [to be captain]. I’m very proud and very honoured to wear it [the armband]. It was the perfect day for me – winning, scoring, three massive points and being captain. I’m too happy today!




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