Mata sees improvement despite Chelsea draw

Date published: Monday 8th February 2016 11:45

Juan Mata Jesse Lingard Football365

Juan Mata thinks Manchester United’s performances are improving despite¬†their draw with Chelsea on Sunday.

The former Chelsea playmaker praised United’s attacking intent, but was frustrated as Diego Costa’s stoppage-time goal cancelled out Jesse Lingard’s opener.

“I want to highlight the team’s image,” Mata wrote on his blog on kicca.com.

“From the first minute we went for the victory and played good football, but unfortunately we let slip two points in the last few moments.

“It’s a pity. It would have been a very important step in this second half of the Premiership, but Chelsea pushed hard (as expected) to at least tie the game and they finally scored their goal.

“We are improving our game lately, and I’m sure this is the way to get a series of good results in the next few weeks.

“The team is playing with more determination and confidence, and we want to keep it this way.”

Mata, whose honours with Chelsea included the 2012 Champions League trophy, received a rousing ovation at Stamford Bridge.

He added: “I’m deeply grateful for the reception from the Chelsea fans and their applause when I was substituted. It’s something you keep in your memory forever.”

United manager Louis van Gaal, meanwhile, praised Cameron Borthwick-Jackson’s performance in the draw, as the left-back showed signs of a bright future for the Red Devils.

Van Gaal was “very proud” of Borthwick-Jackson, despite the 19-year-old academy graduate playing Costa on side and then being unable to recover in the equalising goal. Daley Blind’s slip earlier in the move had allowed Costa to go free.

“It was such a pity because Borthwick-Jackson was playing fantastically and I was very proud of him,” Van Gaal said on MUTV.

“It was a superb performance until the last quarter. In the last quarter we gave it away.

“There are many details which are responsible for that. We had a lot of free-kicks around the penalty area against us and we survived.

“Chelsea have very good set-plays and they have scored a lot from set-plays, so we were well organised.

“But then we have a goal like that – Daley Blind slipping and Borthwick-Jackson not taking the line of the defence. Costa is not offside because of that.”

Van Gaal’s precarious position remained one of the main talking points afterwards.

The Dutchman reacted angrily to questions on his own future following the game, amid renewed reports Jose Mourinho is in line to succeed him as boss at Old Trafford.

And the United manager reckons his side showed the attacking play supporters have craved, backing up the performance in the 3-0 win over Stoke.

But United are still without a win over Chelsea in 10 attempts.

“We continued with our good, attacking football,” Van Gaal added.

“We have created a lot of chances here at Chelsea.”

Van Gaal paid tribute to the travelling support.

He added: “It’s sad for the fans also. This match you heard only the Manchester United fans and not the Chelsea fans.”

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