The Spaniard started in the no.10 role behind Javier Hernandez but was a ubiquitous presence at St James’ Park, bounding all over the field with style and grace.
After scoring two and making another for substitute Adnan Januzaj, Mata was named United’s Man of the Match, picking up a huge 75 per cent of the votes from fans on Twitter.
And former Reds forward Andy Ritchie added his own words of praise on MUTV’s post-match analysis programme, Big Match Debrief.
"Juan was all over the pitch – he popped up on the left, the right, in midfield and up front," Ritchie said. "He links play, he sees things and he knows where people are.
"He’s so hard to pick up and he needs to be in those pockets where he’s not in a physical battle because he isn’t the biggest or strongest of players.
"He wants the ball all the time and he has good control. So if you afford him space and time he can cause havoc."
Big Match Debrief takes a detailed look at the win over the Magpies at 18:00 BST on Monday 7 April. For details of how to watch MUTV, visit manutd.com/joinmutv.
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