Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 31 May 2016

Manchester United's Juan Mata proves an instant hit with new team-mates

By Simon Stone

Published 31/01/2014

Manchester United's Juan Mata in action against Cardiff
Manchester United's Juan Mata in action against Cardiff

Seamless transition: Juan Mata made an encouraging debut

Juan Mata has made a seamless transition into the Manchester United dressing room, according to Ashley Young.

Even though the Spain star completed his club record £37.1million move from Chelsea only last Saturday, manager David Moyes still felt confident enough to give him a start in Tuesday's Premier League encounter with Cardiff.

Although Mata was not at his very best, the early signs were encouraging and United's 2-0 victory very welcome given the difficulties they have endured this season.

Young feels the process has been assisted by the welcoming reception Mata has received from his new team-mates.

"Juan looked like he had been here for years," he said.

"He had only been training for two days and it was his first game but he has gelled straight away.

"There is a great team spirit here. There are some great characters and the banter is brilliant. I have never experienced anything like it.

"When he has fully settled in he will add something special to the squad."

Without even trying though, Mata has provided the spark United so desperately needed.

As Phil Jones pointed out, his team-mates are already trying to impress the new boy and Young confirmed the dressing room seems a slightly more positive place.

"It has lifted everyone; the fans, the staff and the players," he said.

"Obviously, as it is the transfer window, you are wondering who is coming in and what is going on. When you see a player like Juan Mata coming in it is fantastic.

"He is one of those world-class players who can fit into any team."

Young's response was a positive one.

While it seems fellow wide man Nani might be heading for a loan spell at Inter Milan, having failed to find the form that persuaded Moyes to hand him a new five-year contract as recently as September, Young sparkled on Tuesday, drilling home an impressive second-half goal that wrapped up the win.

"It was not too bad," said Young. "You have to be on the ball.

You have to put in performances every week. It keeps you on your toes.

"Manchester United has a big squad, we can rotate the team. It ensures you keep wanting to play well, wanting to train well.

"That is the only way to keep yourself in the team and in the manager's thoughts."

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