The Brilliant Way Juan Mata Urged Manchester United Teammate Not To Take Set-Piece Against Juventus
A night of triumph for Manchester United in the Champions League produces glorious echoes of the Red Devils’ European heyday.
It could have all been so different after Cristiano Ronaldo’s opener for Juventus at the Allianz against Jose Mourinho’s visitors, after the Bianconeri had gone close several times earlier in the match in Turin, as well as Juan Cuadrado fluffing his lines soon after the Portuguese has spectacularly struck.
However, after Paul Pogba was brought down slightly outside the area, United were offered the chance to get back on level-pegging.
Those watching in the ground debated whether it would be Ashley Young or Juan Mata to take the important set-piece, following by moments of euphoria after the latter produced a trademark pearler to tie the score.
In an interview after the game with MUTV Mata explained, brilliantly, the decision for him, not Young, to step up;
"As soon as there was the free kick in there, I had the confidence that I had to take it.
“I told Ash: 'Please let me take it, because I can go over the wall.'
“It's very difficult for the goalkeeper because they don't see a lot [with the wall so close].
“So I tried to do what I do in training a lot of times, practicing, practicing. It was important to score to make it 1-1 and, after, it led us to the 1-2."
Young did eventually have his moment to shine, producing his own free-kick that befuddled the Juventus defence and ending up eventually bashing in off defender Alex Sandro’s forehead for United’s winner.
In his post-match spiel soon after walking out from the pitch, Mata was asked (via The Guardian) to reflect on a momentous night of victory for the red side of Manchester;
‘What a nice last five minutes! To get three points against Juventus in Italy is amazing. It was very difficult. They have fantastic players and are a top team but we’re going back to Manchester with three points.
"I think because of the venue and the importance of the game, it's one of the best [that I've scored]."
The result solidfies United in second place behind Juve at the top of Group H, but now with just two points different. As Mata cautiously, sensibly warned however,
”Today we did a big step, but it's not over yet.”
United still have two important games to come against Valencia and Young Boys to seal secure passage through to the knock-out stages of the Champions League.