Manchester United caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has praised Juan Mata for “doing a job” on Chelsea midfielder Jorginho.
The Red Devils beat the Blues 2-0 at Stamford Bridge to continue their impressive run under Solskjaer’s leadership and book their place in the FA Cup quarter-finals.
It’s no laughing Mata: Five things you need to know…
- In 2014, Mata joined Manchester United from Chelsea for a then-club record £37.1 million.
- The Spanish international has made 212 appearances in all competitions for United, scoring 44 goals.
- The 30-year-old has struggled for minutes this season, completing 90 minutes in just four Premier League matches.
- Despite his quality, Mata’s contract is due to expire at the end of the current campaign.
- Solskjaer publicly praised Mata for his performance against Chelsea and values the Spaniard’s experience.
Speaking to reporters following United’s professional 2-0 victory over Chelsea – with goals from Ander Herrera and Paul Pogba securing the tie – Solskjaer heaped praise upon his side for implementing his tactics.
He also had specific praise for Mata, who expertly marked and contained Chelsea’s Jorginho out of the game, allowing United more space in attack.
Solskjaer told the BBC: “The performance was fantastic, our tactics worked.
“We asked our midfielders to press higher and get into the box and it worked. The defending in the second half was fantastic.
“Chelsea are a good team. They have their way of playing but Juan Mata did a fantastic job on Jorginho and we were absolutely perfect defensively.
“It is a massive result.”
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A reminder of the Solskjaer effect
Since Jose Mourinho’s departure from Old Trafford at the back end of last year, the clouds have been lifted at Old Trafford and their supporters have been spoilt with goals, victories and – perhaps most importantly – increased effort levels.
At one point, United were 11 points behind Chelsea in the race for the top four but now find themselves occupying a Champions League spot following an excellent run of form.
Ander Herrera has not scored more than two goals against a single club in his career:
⚽️⚽️ vs. Arsenal
⚽️⚽️ vs. Barcelona
⚽️⚽️ vs. Chelsea
⚽️⚽️ vs. Málaga
⚽️⚽️ vs. Yeovil Town
Saving them for some of the big boys. 😉 pic.twitter.com/jrnnNENcxF
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) February 18, 2019
In all competitions, United have won 11 of 13 games under Solskjaer, losing only to Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League.
Eight Premier League wins in quick concession have allowed United to leapfrog Chelsea and Arsenal into the last remaining Champions League spot.
Since Solskjaer’s appointment, United have scored 30 goals, averaging 2.3 goals per 90 minutes.