Juan Mata says more performances like this are needed to show ‘the Manchester United that we want to see’.
The midfielder was at the hub of United’s biggest win for 13 months, in which Romelu Lukaku scored his first goal in 997 minutes of football and Ashley Young found the net for the first time in a year. The game brought the Spaniard’s 50th goal and 50th assist in the Premier League.
‘We need these performances more often,’ he reflected last night. ‘The fans today enjoyed it — that is the Manchester United that we want to see.’
United have struggled at home this season, often because they have conceded the first goal in matches and been left chasing the game. Mata identified their strong start against the league’s bottom club as significant.
‘It was the start that we needed,’ he said. ‘We know that we have to start better because it is not right to always be chasing the game. But I thought we played with more intensity. Every game is really, really important. We cannot afford to lose a lot of points from now until the end of the season. We have a difficult task.’
United manager Jose Mourinho identified his £19million Portuguese wing back Diogo Dalot as a key player. He had not started a top flight game until the midweek 2-2 draw with Arsenal. He suffered a knee injury in May before signing, then picked up another injury while playing for Portugal Under-21s.
‘I think probably other clubs wouldn’t sign him when a player has knee surgery,’ said Mourinho. ‘We did it because we didn’t want to lose him because of an injury.
‘He is compact and already… technically very good — a happy boy playing football, who goes forward all the time. He can be a Man United right back for 10 years.’