Jose Mourinho has praised the growing influence of Juan Mata following Manchester United’s 4-0 win over Crystal Palace on the weekend.
The former Chelsea star, who moved to Old Trafford after Mourinho sanctioned his sale during his second spell in charge at Stamford Bridge, scored the opening goal against relegation-threatened Palace, as United scored four goals in a game for the sixth time this season.
Mata has been in and out of United’s starting XI and been asked to perform in various positions since Mourinho’s arrival, but the Special One believes he is one of a number of unsung heroes in his current squad.
“I need good players, I need good people,’ Mourinho said of Mata.
“I need some people with maturity, I need some people with the concept of team, I know that the new generations are more individual because this is the way the entourage and society makes them.
“So to have people like Mata, Herrera, Valencia, Matic, to have people like them – and I am just giving a few examples, I could give more – is very important because managers, we don’t have an easy life now.”
Juan Mata has said he had no fears about whether Romelu Lukaku would be a success at Manchester United, though admitting he did not expect the player to start so well. Lukaku has hit the ground running at Manchester United following hid £75million move from Everton in the summer.
The 24-year-old has bagged seven goals in as many Premier League outings as United sit joint-top of the table, putting him one ahead of Sergio Aguero, Harry Kane and Alvaro Morata in the scoring charts.
And Mata, who has also been key for the Reds Devils so far this season, admits he did not expect Lukaku to have taken to life at Old Trafford so early on.
“It’s a lot of goals, especially when you come to a new environment,” Mata said of the Belgium international.
“I knew he would score a lot but I didn’t know he would do it so quick, that’s true.
“He gives a lot more to the team, too, but for a striker it’s important to score, especially when you see other strikers are scoring and I believe that is what he feels.
“He has started really well and he has been a key part to our good start to the season.
“And he’s a good lad, a very humble lad and everyone likes him in the dressing room so we are happy for him.”