Juan Mata was deeply unhappy to be substituted off for Manchester United today.
The Spaniard, himself only appearing off the bench after the first half in United’s victory over Leicester, was taken off for Henrikh Mkhitaryan deep into the second period.
Given that Mata has been linked with a United exit since Jose Mourinho took charge at Old Trafford, we can only expect such rumours to intensify over the coming days.
Nevertheless, Mata remains a popular figure among United fans, who see the former Chelsea player as a tidy playmaker and an asset in the middle of the field.
Indeed, as United have added to their attacking options over the course of the summer, a player of Mata’s imagination and speed of thought could make the Red Devils all the more dangerous.
Consequently, Mourinho’s decision to withdraw Mata proved quite unpopular.
Coaching staff are hugging Mata. Mata is actually having a go at Mourinho. Having to be restrained. #mufc
— Samuel Luckhurst (@samuelluckhurst) August 7, 2016
Gonna take several hours of Belle & Sebastian and a long, candlelit bath for Juan Mata to get over today.
— MUNDIAL (H) (@MundialMag) August 7, 2016
Good to see Mourinho doing his best to build bridges with Mata.
— Tom Williams (@tomwfootball) August 7, 2016
Mou keeping Mata fresh for the next U23 game.
— Raphael Honigstein (@honigstein) August 7, 2016
He should leave United. Mourinho didn't want him at Chelsea and is unlikely to want him now.
— Olé (@Ole_LFC) August 7, 2016
— Tim Gale (@TimGale8) August 7, 2016
he hates him 😏
— FPL THINKER (@FPL_THINKER) August 7, 2016
Huge cheer from #mufc fans as Mata is passed trophy and lifts it. Popular player. Subbing an uninjured sub never a pleasant move.
— Henry Winter (@henrywinter) August 7, 2016
jose on Mata again?😂🙈sub on sub off
— Milan Lalkovic (@LalkovicMilan10) August 7, 2016
Which is more embarrassing, Mata substituted after coming on as a sub or Mhiktaryan coming on 93minutes 16seconds??
— David Ezekiel (@davezeeaffairs) August 7, 2016
Callum Connolly, Pundit Arena.