Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata says he loves playing with Donny van de Beek – and praised his footballing brain.
It was a much easier ride for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side this time out, easing past the Seagulls 3-0.
Scott McTominay met Juan Mata ‘s cross to head United in front before the provider turned scorer to double the visitors’ lead.
Paul Pogba, who came on as a substitute, wrapped up the win for United with a deflected free-kick late on.
But it was Mata’s goal that caught everyone’s attention. Pogba’s direct pass was cleverly flicked on by Van de Beek to release Mata who coolly slotted home with his weaker foot.
The Spaniard was full of praise to the man who had set him up and professed his love for the Dutchman’s ability.
“Very clever assist,” Mata told Sky Sports.
“He’s a very clever player. I love playing with him because he finds pockets, spaces. He understands football in a way that I like – which is playing one-twos, passing and moving.
“And the goal was like that. He is always in the right positions, flicked the ball to me and I could finish with my right.”
Former United midfielder Darren Fletcher also noticed the connection between the two and believes there’s plenty more to come from the Dutchman.
“You can see it in the game as well,” the Sky Sports pundit said. “That’s two players who have got great football brains. They’ve been brought up in a cultured way of playing football who appreciate each other.
“Sometimes it can go unseen by people as well. You know, delicate little movements, delicate little touches. Fantastic brains in both players.
“Meanwhile Mata getting older but still got a lot to give and Donny van de Beek at the beginning of his Manchester United career – who’s going to have a long successful career with that Dutch, Ajax football brain that he’s got and is going to bring to the team.”