Mata delighted for fans after fightback
PREMIER LEAGUE: Juan Mata says Manchester United fans do not “deserve everything that is going on” and hopes their last-gasp comeback win against Newcastle gives the team a mental lift.
Alexis Sanchez came off the bench to secure a 3-2 win against Rafael Benitez’s embattled Magpies, who had held a two-goal half-time lead through early efforts from Kenedy and Yoshinori Muto.
A pathetic first half made manager Jose Mourinho’s position look more perilous than ever despite senior United figures denying a report in the build-up that the Portuguese’s job was in immediate danger.
But with the 20-time league winners – and perhaps their manager – staring down the barrel, substitute Mata swept in a free-kick that Anthony Martial smartly added to as the hosts made it 2-2 with 14 minutes to go.
It led to a grandstand finish and Sanchez headed home in the 90th minute to end a fourgame winless run and give the club a shot in the arm at a time when off-field backbiting was compounding poor performances.
“It was special,” attacking midfielder Mata said. “We were losing 2-0, they created even more chances to score more goals and confidence levels were low.
“We needed to change something and when you have nothing to lose you just throw yourself blindly, let’s say. You push even more.
“We couldn’t afford another defeat, we couldn’t afford another disappointment, especially for the fans.
“I think they saw we tried everything, and we came back and from the mental point of view it’s a very important three points.”
Old Trafford was rocking in the second half as United fans stuck with their team and, on the whole, under-fire Mourinho.
“They pushed us,” Mata said. “They helped us to go more, to try more, to give this 50 minutes more and I’m very happy for them.
“I am very happy for the team, for us, but especially for the fans because they don’t deserve everything that is going on.
“We felt that if we scored it was not impossible, especially at Old Trafford.
“If you score once you can score a few goals in some minutes; I’ve seen Manchester United doing that a lot of times over the years and we did it.”