rss twitter facebook mobile

Mata enjoying being part of new era at United

Juan Mata is taking part in his first full pre-season for years and is looking forward to being part of the new Manchester United era under Louis van Gaal.

“It will be a different pre-season for me because in the last six or seven years I’ve always had a tournament with the national team and haven’t had a complete pre-season with my team,” said Mata. “So this time I will do the whole tour of the States, which is good for me to prepare for a long and hard season. This is my first pre-season with United and I’m enjoying it. It’s the start of a new era for the club, with a new manager and players coming in. I’m really happy with the manager’s style of football and hopefully at the end of the season we can celebrate something, which would be amazing for him and for us. We’re focused on improving and trying to learn from the manager, to play at our best level during the season. The main idea is to play as a team and compete for titles.”

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

View all posts by Scott »



  1. Gary Mitrovic says:

    Expecting big things from Juan Mata this season. Considering everything that was going in at the club when he arrived I thought he acquitted himself very well. He chipped with a decent amount of goals, a few assists, and all this in a team that was imploding inside and outside the dressing room.

    I’m hoping to see Mata played in his natural position behind the main front man which has to be Van Persie in my eyes. He was wasted shunted out wide under Moyes and rendered ineffective because of it. With the right players around him Mata will shine. We need wide players who can stretch the game either side of him, and if we sign Vidal alongside Herrera I think they will form a perfect platform behind him.

  2. Spanish Red says:

    Don’t want to burst your bubble guys but the World Cup is over, Germany won. You can’t have a preview after the event. I suggest you change the title to an-after-the-event-download-containing-a-preview-and-articles-which-are-probably-all-wrong. I also think it’s a bit rich to charge for a preview of an event that’s been over for two weeks.

  3. Blacksocks says:

    @ Gary

    Couldn’t agree more mate, building a team around Mata makes perfect sense to me. He was our best player for the last couple of months of the season and I too expect him to kick on this season, especially as he didn’t play a big part in the WC.

    How he would fit into a 433 system I’m not sure but as the top of a diamond system or in a 4411 he would fit in perfectly. Just hope he impresses LVG over the next few weeks. The pre-season warm up games will make for fascinating watching.

  4. Marco Soares says:

    also feel Mata is at his best roaming around behind the Centre Forward but we will need pace in the attacks to get the best of Mata and RVP cause as good as those 2 are neither is particularly quick, I still feel Chicharito is a valuable asset to the team and hope he stays on cause his pace, movement and predetory instincts around goal is fantastic, maybe a pacey winger who runs in behind would also be very good for the Mata and RVP combo

  5. Marq says:

    Mata’s best position is definitely behind the striker. On paper, I would give the triangle of Mata, Kagawa and Rvp a try, with Januzaj out wide providing the width

  6. iamMatty says:

    Loool i can bet my left nut that shinji kagawa will be the prefered playmaker. Just watch and see.
    Anyways better mata than wayne rooney though.

  7. Justin10RvN says:

    very good player and like everyone’s already said, best behind the striker, in a 4-3-3 he could play behind RvP with 2 midfielders behind him almost giving the appearance of a 4-2-3-1 or he could try his hand as an actual midfielder beside Herrera in front of an anchor midfielder in another form of the 4-3-3. I keep seeing people wanting or at least mentioning a diamond, I’m not sure that would work if we played the compact diamond, a 4-3-1-2, we would have to depend on Rafael and Shaw to provide the width, and we would need radical changes in the roster to play it weekly. If we did the 4-1-2-1-2 version our midfield would be overrun constantly, the diamond is a tricky formation to use, and with our current roster, a square peg.

  8. Dan Young says:

    justin, i wouldnt be so sure with your thoughts on the diamond. i think its the best formation for the players we currently have, and the players that we seem to be after (a box to box midfielder, a centre back .. im going to say hummels and vidal for the sake of arguement)

    so a 4-3-1-2 has these positions…

    Rb — CB — CB — LB

    RB – rafael, valencia (janko, varela)
    CB – Evans, jones, smalling, hummels (m. keane)
    LB – Shaw evra? (blackett, james)
    CDM jones, carrick, fletcher (pearson)
    CM – Vidal, herrera, cleverley, fletcher, kagawa, rooney, (pereira, powell)
    Cam – mata, rooney, kagawa, januzaj, herrera, vidal (pereira, powell, lingard, lawrence)
    ST – RVP, welbeck, rooney, (wilson, henriquez)

    thats plenty of depth, and i have still left out zaha, fellaini, hernandez, nani, young, anderson as im not so sure of their futures

  9. Marco Soares says:

    I think you should be able to play a Diamond formation as Dan stated and a 4-3-3 formation as sometimes you got to change things according to your opposition, a Diamond formation could come up short at times and you may need wingers to stretch the game out, important that players can operate in numerous positions as we saw with Van Gaal’s Holland side, players like Januzaj and Welback can play centrally but they could also be moved out wide to run at fullbacks, I think Van Gaal will be quite flexible in his formations and certain players who can play in 2 or 3 different positions may benefit

  10. Tommy says:


    I agree totally with what you have said mate, Mata is our best player and as such I expect big things from our Spanish superstar, I think the best formastion with these playersn is a 4 2 3 1 formation but LVG has always prefered a 4 3 3 although he changed in WC to a 5 3 2 but I think that was more down to the weak Dutch defence, be interesting what systems he will try in the next few weeks of pre season.

  11. Sparkz says:

    Thing with Mata is you need to play him with pacey players. Guys who will run in behind. I’m not sure RVP and Rooney are those players. Will be interesting how LVG fits them all in.

    I think on this tour we might play 4-3-3 with Mata-Rooney and Welbeck/Adnan as the front 3. Once RVP is back it’ll be interesting though.

  12. Gary Mitrovic says:

    Tommy, yes I think in terms of technical ability and cleverness on the pitch that Mata is our best player along with Van Persie.

    Chelsea fans by and large were bemused as any as to Mourinho’s instant dislike for Mata. Let’s hope this season Mata can remind the whole of the premiership just how good a player he is.

    I’m quietly confident about our chances this season. The opening set of fixtures gives us a chance to build momentum and get a foot hold near the top of the table early on. If we hit the ground running the feel good factor could return sooner than expected. Things change quickly in football.

  13. Sparkz says:

    Interesting – Fergie is set to release an UPDATED version of his autobiography. Only a year after his last one. Obviously a good way to make extra dosh but will be interesting to see his thoughts on the disaster that was the David Moyes era.

    Rio also releases a book in October I think?

  14. Justin10RvN says:


    in the DM only Carrick could play the role necessary in a 4-3-1-2, in CM, Rooney will never be there, even if its where he should be as he ages, Kags isn’t a CM so a liability, we would be trying to shoehorn wingers into CM spots. Not to mention 8 people for 1 spot isn’t a good thing (CAM) I like the diamond just not with these players, not as our base formation anyways, as an occasional thing? sure. We certainly have the bodies just not the right bodies imo, the way those players play the game doesn’t suit the formation. Im in the 4-3-3 school of thought, I feel it suits our players the best, or at least it suits our best players.

  15. Mirainashe says:


    4-3-3 seems the most advisable formation with RvP, Rooney and Kagawa the three upfront. Then Carrick and Herrera behind Juan Mata who becomes the playmaker or trequartista behind the attackers. Or alternatively,Carrick as a holding mid,Herrera and Kagawa in a Xavi Iniesta partnership respectively. Kagawa has said that his game is heavily influenced by Iniesta and I’m sure he could adapt to that role. Mata on the right,Rooney left and RvP through the middle. I’m not sure why Moyes never tried it that way given how we don’t have good enough players for a traditional 4-4-2 width based system but I’m sure the 4-3-3 base formation and it’s variations should get the best out of our best players.

    On the other hand, it could prove tough or unsuited to Young and especially Valencia so it’s not as simple I guess. You lose the idea of width because it’s very narrow and places a lot of reliance on creative football. The question now becomes, if we persist with a narrow system like 4-3-3 or the Christmas Tree variation, who is best suited for the playmaker role? Mata,Rooney or Kagawa?

  16. Marq says:

    I’m actually in favor of dropping Rooney and playing Rvp at the tip of a triangle in front of Kagawa and Mata, with Januzaj providing the width floating and switching flanks. Of course if Kagawa is not up to it, Rooney will take his place, or if Rvp can’t find his form Rooney will be the point man.

    If Kagawa still can’t perform in this system, which is identical to his role at Dortmund where he was playing beside Gotze, flanked by Reus and supporting Lewandowski, his time will probably be up

  17. wayne barker says:

    what doesn’t make sense is the persistent Cavani rumors, he hasn’t shown up for PSG training camp but just don’t get why Utd would want him

  18. Tommy says:


    Hes shit, hes not even decent, spending £50mill on Cavani would be as bad as paying it for Luiz

  19. Marco Soares says:

    @ Marq

    Kagawa never played with Reus and in Kagawa’s second season at Dortmund Gotze was mostly out injured, it was him and Lewandowski who led Dortmund to the double, ahh it would be awesome to see that Kagawa but I do agree with you, he needs to step it up this season

  20. wayne barker says:

    Tommy i haven’t seen lots of him he was dogshit against the Rent Boys and the fact he built up his reputation in the Italian League leaves big ??? imo.Another thing reason he’s unhappy at PSG is not playing down the centre so if Utd sign him including Rooney would give us 5 centre forwards,i guess it would definitely mean some would be leaving

  21. Marq says:


    Ahh, my bad, kept thinking it was Reus. Its the winger before Reus. Some Polish guy with a really long name

  22. John says:

    [ limelight and more money like New Jersey every season in the middle of season = Sir Alex My Autoniography "updated". :) . No free interview to MUTV or use of social media/media outlets. ;) ]

  23. John says:

    *******Autobiography********** “updated” :D :D

  24. EC7 says:

    I remember around this time last summer with all the Rooney to Chelsea talk many of us agreed we’d swap Mata with Rooney in a heartbeat. Well now we have Mata he surely has to be our #10. It will be very interesting to see how LVG sets up the team. Maybe Januzaj on the left side of attack, RVP in the middle, Mata just behind and Rooney on the right of the front three maybe? My only worry here would be a lack of pace but technically that’s a pretty sound set up.


    Blaszczykowski is probably who you mean but he mainly plays on the right wing.

  25. Justin10RvN says:


    It was Blaszczykowski on the right and Perisic on the left, Kags and Lewandowski down the middle.

  26. FBr David Lee says:

    agree with Sparkz, pacey forwards drool at the sight of a Mata through ball or pass. To compensate for he is lack of defensive ability, the team needs an achorman and considering since LVG only uses 1 forward & loves ball playing midfielders, our midfield might look like this:

    Januzaj—-Mata—- Rooney

    –Rooney can provide the additional steel in midfield when Januzaj, Mata or Herrera went forward or as the extra attacking option.

    question is, who LVG going to choose as the sole striker? RvP has the shooting ability but painfully lacked the pace, while chicarito has the pace; welbeck has the techniques to hold the ball and bring up play.

  27. FBr David Lee says:

    and if LvG mad enough to play 5-3-2

    he could go for this

    Valencia—Jones—Hummels (if)—Evans—Shaw

    CON: possibly weak in the middle if Vidal/Carrick had a bad game.


You must be logged in to post a comment.