Sunday 25 August 2019

Mata blasts 'too many long balls'

Juan Mata was annoyed to see his Manchester United team-mates resort to route-one football at times in Saturday's disappointing draw at Burnley.

Louis van Gaal is still searching for his first win as Red Devils boss following the uninspiring goalless stalemate at Turf Moor.

Angel di Maria, playing in a midfield three alongside Mata and Darren Fletcher, produced flashes of brilliance, but Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie both had off days up front and could not convert a host of chances.

United did not help their cause in the first half by launching long balls to their strikers, effectively bypassing a midfield containing nearly £100million of talent.

Mata admits United lacked confidence in their build-up play on Saturday, which led them to start pumping long balls up field.

"Maybe in the build-up (there were confidence issues) as we were trying to build up from the back but sometimes we didn't do it well," the Spaniard said.

"We played most of the time in their half which is good but, if you don't score from these chances, then it's not good enough.

"I believe, when we try to play football in the last third, we can create but we played too many long balls in the first half which is maybe why we didn't play as well."

Meanwhile, Ashley Young thinks United have pulled off a major coup by signing Angel di Maria.

"I think it makes a big statement to people out there," Young said.

"Angel is a fantastic signing. Real Madrid have other top players in their team like (Gareth) Bale and (Cristiano) Ronaldo but he's the one who stood out for me in that team."

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