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Mata frustrated at having to watch on as United struggle

Juan Mata did not enjoy the experience of watching Manchester United from an armchair, but knows he may have to get used to the role of spectator.

The injured Spain international underwent groin surgery on Friday and was forced to miss the following day's game as United were held to a frustrating goalless draw by West Brom at Old Trafford.

Midfielder Mata, who has struck 10 goals in all competitions this season, is unsure when he will be fit for a return to action, but feels support from fans has given him a boost.

"Watching a game of your team on TV is not the best possible experience, but I had to do it on Saturday," he wrote on his website, juanmata8.com.

"As you can imagine, I'm writing this post in not the best possible situation, but first of all I'd like to thank you for all your messages of encouragement during the last few days.

"This situation is new for me, after having surgery, but I feel positive and I'm looking forward to getting well and trying to help the team. Besides, right now your messages of support are like an extra power for me."

The weekend stalemate against the Baggies leaves Jose Mourinho's men fifth in the Premier League table, five points behind rivals Manchester City in the battle for a place in next season's Champions League.

United, who can also qualify for Europe's premier club competition by winning the Europa League, continue their top-four quest at home to seventh-placed Everton on Tuesday.

Mata believes the club have been unfortunate with the number of absent players in recent weeks.

Speaking about the West Brom game, the 28-year-old added: "It was a shame that we weren't able to get the three points because now we would be in a better position, but we have to keep going.

"We had some chances to score that goal that sometimes is so difficult to get, but we couldn't make them.

"Now we have to focus on the next game against Everton at home this Tuesday, and try to win this one.

"At this moment we're being unlucky in terms of players injured or suspended. I hope the situation gets better from now until the end of the season."

United's cause will be boosted for the midweek visit of the Toffees with the return of top-scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Mata's compatriot Ander Herrera.

The pair have both completed suspensions, with Ibrahimovic missing three matches due to his elbow on Tyrone Mings and midfielder Herrera sitting out two games following his dismissal during the FA Cup loss at Chelsea.

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