Juan Mata has spoken of his affection for Manchester United and their supporters who helped get him through his disappointment at missing out on a place in the squad on Sunday.
United recorded a vital 2-0 win at Burnley to ease the pressure on Jose Mourinho following a difficult start to the season – but the victory was done so without Spanish playmaker Mata, who again was left out of the matchday squad for the second straight game.
Analysing his disappointment at missing out, Mata told the club’s official website: “On a personal level, the afternoon didn’t start so well for me when I found out I wouldn’t be involved in the game.
“But two things helped me to feel better about myself – the result and the atmosphere from our fans in the stands.
“The passion, spirit, intensity and energy that comes from the fans is the engine that drives football.
“The club is special for a lot of reasons, and undoubtedly one of them is all of you out there. You struggle along with us when we lose and celebrate with us when we win, just like yesterday.”
Mata took the rather unusual step of watching the action unfold from the stands and among United’s travelling support at Turf Moor. And the former Chelsea man was quick to praise those who made the short trip and explained why the club is so close to his heart.
“Many thanks to all of you who made the trip to Burnley and cheered us on relentlessly. And, of course, thank you for chanting my name and singing ‘my song’! You’re all amazing.
“The club is special for a lot of reasons, and undoubtedly one of them is all of you out there. You struggle along with us when we lose and celebrate with us when we win, just like Sunday.”
Mata was not the only star to miss out on selection at Burnley, with Mourinho admitting he felt bad for two players he was forced to leave out of his side at Turf Moor.