"Played like a magician" - Rangnick unsure if 'professional' Manchester United star will remain at club this summer

Manchester United interim boss Ralf Rangnick
Manchester United interim boss Ralf Rangnick
Anantaajith Ra

Manchester United interim boss Ralf Rangnick praised midfielder Juan Mata for his professionalism in training and his display against Brentford.

The Red Devils hosted the Bees in the Premier League last night (May 2). Mata started the game, the first such instance in the league this term, and put in an excellent display as his side ran out 3-0 winners. Bruno Fernandes, Cristiano Ronaldo and Raphael Varane got on the scoresheet for Rangnick's men.

Despite not scoring or assisting, Mata was influential and pulled the strings from midfield. The Spaniard completed a dribble, 91% of his passes and both of his long-ball attempts before being substituted with 15 minutes to go.

During his post-game press conference, Rangnick was asked if he felt he could have played Mata a little more this season. The German tactician replied (as quoted by Manchester Evening News):

"Yes, maybe it was the first game he played from the beginning, [but it] also had to do with the opposition in this position and in the last couple of weeks he was one of the players who showed in training how professional he is and how much he loves the game."

He went on to add:

"He had moments where he played like a magician."

It is worth noting that Mata's contract expires at the end of the season. Consequently, this could be his final appearance at Old Trafford, with Manchester United hitting the road for their final two matches of the season.

Asked about Mata's future at the club, Rangnick responded:

"I don’t know [if he's leaving]. He hasn’t confirmed that but it is possible. It was an important night for players who have been here quite a long time and played well for the club."

The Red Devils interim boss also handed a start to Nemanja Matic, who recently confirmed that he will be leaving the club in the summer.

Juan Mata has been on the fringes at Manchester United over the last two seasons

Mata was signed by Manchester United in January 2014 from Chelsea on a deal worth around £37 million. He was one of the club's more consistent players in his first few seasons and was a constant feature in the starting XI.

However, Mata has fallen down the pecking order in recent years. He has managed just 33 Premier League appearances since the start of the 2019-20 campaign. Regardless, the 34-year-old has always been a fan favorite.

Juan Mata has made 283 appearances for Man Utd, winning the Europa League, FA Cup and EFL Cup since joining in 2014.He scored one of the the club's greatest goals in recent memory with his bicycle kick at Anfield.After eight seasons, he says farewell to Old Trafford.

Mata was also a major contributor to whatever little success the Red Devils have enjoyed in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era. Overall, he has made 283 appearances across all competitions for the side, scoring 51 goals and laying out 47 assists.

Should he leave this summer, Mata will exit Old Trafford with successes in the FA Cup, Carabao Cup and UEFA Europa League to his name.

Edited by Rachel Syiemlieh


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