Juan Mata and Dan James embrace after Manchester United's opener against Southampton

Mata praises Man of the Match James

Saturday 31 August 2019 16:10

Juan Mata praised the contribution of Daniel James after our new signing netted his third goal in four games during the 1-1 draw with Southampton.

The 21-year-old took home the Man of the Match award on our Official App, with 81% of your vote, and the Spaniard highlighted the way James attacked from the left-hand side.

“[It was a] very good goal, a fantastic finish. He’s a very hard-working player,” Mata told MUTV after the final whistle.

“He gave us a lot on the wing and even in the second half when everyone was a bit tired, he was still sprinting and giving very dangerous crosses.

“[I’m] very happy for him and hopefully he can do it many more times.”

Mata: 'we must be more ruthless' Video

Mata: 'we must be more ruthless'

Juan gives a full and frank assessment of our draw with Southampton...

Including his superbly-taken opener, James had five shots on the Southampton goal, with three of them saved well by goalkeeper Angus Gunn.

He worked well in combination with Mata, particularly during the first half, and Juan sees the benefit of having someone with such youthful attacking endeavour in the side.

“Football is easier right, if you are that quick? He takes advantage of that,” the 31-year-old said.

“He goes one against one and it’s very difficult for a defender to take the ball off him. We need to use him even more.”

For the second away game in a row this season, the Reds were unable to hold on to an early lead, as Jannik Vestergaard’s 58th-minute header denied us victory. Mata admitted he was frustrated with the outcome of the game and said United need to be more consistent in terms of making our dominance in possession count.

“[It’s] two points dropped,” he insisted. “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.”

Mata in action at St Mary's.

United go into the two-week international break having taken five points from our opening four Premier League fixtures, although Mata believes that, with a little bit more luck, we could have found ourselves in an even stronger position.

“We started the season really well against Chelsea at home, winning 4-0 [with a] great second half, I would say and after that, at Wolves we felt we dropped two points,” he added.

“We lost against Crystal Palace at home which we shouldn’t accept and it shouldn’t happen again, and today another two points dropped.

“We need to find this consistency and try to win and add three points after three points and that’s our main objective.

“I think we are deserving more in almost every game but deserving is not enough: you have to get it.”

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