With Wayne Rooney, Michael Carrick, Chris Smalling and Bastian Schweinsteiger all unavailable with injury, Juan Mata was chosen to captain Manchester United in our 1-0 win over Watford earlier this week.
Mata has spoken to the club’s official site about what that game was like for him.
Juan Mata, Manchester United captain. How does that sound to you?
Good, no? What do you think? (Interviewer: “Very good!”) It sounds very good and as I said the other day, I felt really proud and very honoured. If you had told me a few years ago that I was going to be Man United captain, I would have not believed it because it is obviously something very special. I am very honoured to have felt that.
It must be nice to know that the manager has that trust in you to wear the armband…
Yes, I am grateful to him and I told him because obviously we have so many injuries and the captains were not ready to play. Obviously I was ready and grateful to do it.
Did you do anything different on the day, like giving a rousing team-talk or shouting in the tunnel before leading out the team?
No. Especially because we have a very young team, I just tried to give confidence to everyone. Some of the players were playing for the first, second or third time, so I just tried to speak with them. It was great to give them confidence on the pitch.
You scored the winning goal, of course, with a free-kick at the Stretford End, as captain. Does it get any better than that?
No, it does not. It was a perfect night for me. Winning and scoring the goal with a nice free-kick, in that goal, and being the captain, so it was a perfect day.
Made in Manchester is available for just £5. It includes 30 articles from the country's best football writers about graduates from the Manchester United academy. All profit goes to Trafford Macmillan so please support this fantastic cause.