herald

Friday 15 November 2019

United need killer instinct, says Mata

Juan Mata
Juan Mata

Juan Mata is frustrated that Manchester United keep falling short due to a lack of a killer instinct.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men started the season with a thumping 4-0 win against Chelsea, but things have gone awry in front of goal since then.

United blew the chance to win at Wolves and that 1-1 draw was followed by a chastening 2-1 home loss to Crystal Palace last weekend.

Saturday's trip to Southampton was another winless match for the Reds, who saw Daniel James's brilliant opener cancelled out by Jannik Vestergaard.

Even Kevin Danso's second-half dismissal for the hosts could not inspire United, who have five points from their opening four matches following the 1-1 draw.

"Two points dropped," Mata said. "We were expecting Southampton (to have) some chances and play some good football for some moments.

"I think we have to come to these kind of games and win and come back to Manchester with three points or the feeling is frustration and two points dropped again.

"When you score the first goal and you have the ball and you seem that you are having the tempo of the game, you need to kill (it off) and score the second goal and then the game is more or less done."

Those comments echoed Solskjaer's sentiments and Mata knows they need to up their game.

United are yet to hit their straps but at least they know exciting talent James is able to handle top-flight football.

A low-key summer arrival from Swansea, the 21-year-old proved to be a thorn in Saints's side and scored a stunning strike that took his Premier League tally to three goals - as many as Alexis Sanchez could manage for United.

The Saints rode their luck at times but defended well on the whole, with Vestergaard impressing at the back and scoring an impressive leveller.

"We're very happy with a point," the centre-back said. "It was our game plan to go out there and shake them a little bit."

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