Juan Mata admits Manchester United transfer worry: ‘I did not know what would happen’

Mata believed he could be on the way out of Old Trafford (Picture: Getty)

Juan Mata has admitted he thought Manchester United could sell him over the summer – even though he wanted to stay at the club.

Mata signed for United back in January 2014 after being frozen out Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea side and quickly became an important cog in the starting XI, appearing in every game in his first full Premier League season at Old Trafford.

But the 31-year-old has become more of a fringe figure at United in recent years – Mata only started 16 Premier League games last season – and has revealed that he thought he might be forced out over the summer transfer window.

“To be honest, I didn’t know. I was not 100 per cent sure. I know what I felt – which was to stay – but I didn’t know what would happen,’ Mata told the Telegraph.

However, Mata clearly did enough to convince manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer that he could still play a part in the side because he was handed a two-year contract extension in June.

Mata added: ‘I wanted to stay here because I would not forgive myself to leave with a feeling of ‘yeah, but… what?’ I didn’t want that.

‘You know it has been a challenging time. But I am quite proud of my mentality.

‘It’s been difficult in some moments not playing, out of the team, the team not doing great, of critics, for everyone.

Mata has been restricted to the bench so far this season (Picture: Getty)

‘It would have been easier for me to give up and say ‘it’s true that I came to this club in a difficult moment and it’s not meant to be. Bye’.

‘No, I’m proud of saying ‘I want to make it happen, I want to fight for big trophies, I want to be here when we win’.

‘And I want to be here when we bring this club back to where it belongs.’

Mata has played just 13 minutes of Premier League football so far this season and was given the chance to prove his match fitness in a behind-closed-doors friendly against Sheffield United on Tuesday.

And the Spaniard remains determined to repay the faith shown in him by the manager – and by the fans, whom he praised for supporting them through thick and thin, even at the end of a disappointing season last time around.

Mata has been pleasantly surprised by the fans’ reaction to United’s struggles (Picture: Getty)

Mata added: ‘I really didn’t know how they would react [when United did their ‘lap of appreciation’ in May] because in another club it probably would have been different.

‘But when I saw their faces and they said ‘next year, next year’ and they keep doing that then in a way you feel – and you really feel – they deserve more.

‘There have been moments of frustration for them and for us but we are all part of the same club and the only way to get through is to be together.

‘Playing for this club, and I really mean this, is something very special in a player’s career. That’s a reality.

‘Not many players are able to say ‘I played for Manchester United and I was there for six, seven, eight years’.

‘That’s a privilege. And so being here, seeing how many millions of fans they have, makes you realise also that you are on the biggest stage that you can be.’


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