Mata de­lighted for fans af­ter fight­back

Yorkshire Post - Sports Monday - - FOOTBALL -

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.”

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