Juan Mata has dedicated his performance in Manchester United’s incredible 3-2 comeback victory over Newcastle on Saturday to the fans in attendance at Old Trafford, as well as those around the world.
The Spaniard started the game on the substitutes bench, but with the scores at 2-0 after just 10 minutes, Mata found himself being called upon much earlier than expected, entering the action after just 19 minutes.
The scores remained 2-0 until the 70th minute when Mata fired an inch-perfect free-kick over the Newcastle wall and past the excellent Martin Dubravka in the Magpies goal.
That strike would spur Manchester United on to complete the most unexpected of comebacks, with Anthony Martial and Alexis Sanchez salvaging all three points, and maybe Jose Mourinho’s job, and writing in his weekly blog, Mata described the fans at Old Trafford as ‘incredible’:
“Saturday’s win was special, without doubt, not only for how important it was but also for how it came about,” wrote the former Chelsea playmaker.
“As you’re all aware, the situation was dire. We were 2-0 down early on and Newcastle were creating chances. A comeback seemed a long way off – not because scoring two or three goals was impossible, as we showed, but due to how we were feeling in that first half. However, in the second half, we gave all that we had. From pushing on, courage and our football, we turned the scoreline around.
“Thanks to all of this and the incredible support of our fans, of course, we were pushed towards the three points. The energy and lift that the fans gave us was key to taking the win. In the dying minutes, above all, Old Trafford transformed into the kind of stadium that every other one in the world wants to be – a stadium where goals can be scored from the stands too. It was really amazing to be able to feel that from the pitch itself. In those moments, you realise just how special our fans are. You all deserved the result from that game.
“On a personal level, obviously it was important to score the first goal, the one that got us back into the game and made us believe in the chance of a comeback. It was a free-kick, something which isn’t new to me (they have told me that since I’ve arrived in the Premier League, nobody has scored more goals from direct free-kicks) and therefore, sometimes, I ask to take them.”