Manchester United edged past local rivals Manchester City in the fourth round of the EFL Cup, courtesy of a Juan Mata goal in the second half. United fans were delighted with the Spaniard’s performance with many calling on Jose Mourinho to start him on a more regular basis in the Premier League.
The first half was extremely even at Old Trafford, but United started to take control of the game in the second half. Zlatan Ibrahimovic played a nice ball through to Paul Pogba, who hit the post after Willy Caballero saved his shot.
The breakthrough for Manchester United came shortly after. Ibrahimovic was involved again as his square ball was converted into the bottom corner to give the Reds the lead.
The home side had to withstand some late Manchester City pressure, who introduced Sergio Aguero midway through the second half, but Mourinho’s men had more than enough to get over the line and into the quarter-finals of the EFL Cup.
Juan Mata marked his return to the starting line-up with the decisive goal in the derby, and impressed many with his performance in the derby. Fans took to social media to heap praise onto the Spaniard, also hailing the performance of Michael Carrick in the midfield.
Thank you Mata. We really needed that win after that rough weekend #MUFC
— Kelvin Mathea (@KelvinMathea) 26 October 2016
Some day he’ll understand when he starts Mata we win ???⚪️
— Ryan Nolan (@RyannNolann) 26 October 2016
We play so much better with Mata and Carrick in the side, not sure why they don’t start more often
— Lee Webb (@LeeWebby) 26 October 2016
Someone explain to me how Mata is droppable but Zlatan isn’t? #MUFC
— Ryan McDermott (@Banners_Up) 26 October 2016
Good game, and again mata starts and we don’t lose, mourinho should read between the lines. #mufc
— E.C.E (@Elvis_corp) 26 October 2016
Carrick and Mata can’t be left out of another United team this season if fit, surely? ??
— Michael Noone (@MichaelNoone4) 26 October 2016
It’s proven yet again, when mata starts we win
— MITHUN GARCIA (@MithunCher) 26 October 2016
Juan Mata hasn’t always been Jose Mourinho’s favourite man, just look back at when the two were at Chelsea to see what I mean. However, Mata’s performances have been immense for United this season, and generally when he starts, the Red Devils come away with a positive result, and fans have been calling for Mata to become a regular starter in Jose Mourinho’s starting elevens.
Michael Carrick has also been knocking on the door for an extended run in the team, but has so far been unsuccessful, with Mourinho preferring Ander Herrera alongside Paul Pogba or Marouane Fellaini in defensive midfield.
However, the Portuguese boss went with Herrera and Carrick in the defensive midfield, and after this positive result, Mourinho may explore the option of starting the two together in the midfield on a more regular and consistent basis.