• Premier League

United wasting Mata gold, says Silva

ESPN staff
March 24, 2014
Moyes: Fringe players proving their worth

David Silva says Manchester United are not getting the best out of Juan Mata.

The Manchester City midfielder will face his Spain team-mate in Tuesday's Manchester derby in their first meeting since Mata became United's £37.1 million club record signing in January.

He is a big admirer of Mata, who was also a colleague in his time at Valencia, but the World Cup winner has had a patchy time at Old Trafford and Silva feels United are wasting a valuable resource.

"They have not managed to bring out the best out in him but he is a very talented player and he will show it," Silva told The Independent.

Flipping out

There's never a dull moment with Tyson Fury © Getty Images
  • There's a slight overreaction from Tyson Fury while Robin van Persie experiences the agony and ecstasy of football in our latest Week in Pictures.
  • Click here for the full gallery

Mata is yet to score for United and has only made two of his eight appearances in a central role, the one he said publicly that he prefers.

He has been played on the wing when both Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie have been fit but in the absence of the Dutchman against West Ham on Saturday, he excelled in a 2-0 win.

That dynamic performance has led to discussion that United may play better without Van Persie in the starting line-up after Rooney was so well served by Mata and scored both goals, including a wonder strike which has won widespread plaudits.

Mata found himself the subject of similar at Stamford bridge, where he had to battle for a place in the team with Oscar. He won Chelsea's player-of-the-year award in each of his first two seasons at the club but was often omitted from the team after Jose Mourinho took charge last summer.

Silva, who rejected talk of a summer move to Barcelona, said: "He wasn't getting the minutes at Chelsea so it was a good move for him to go to United."

How good may depend on how he is used by David Moyes in the team. Fellow United midfielder Darren Fletcher is in little doubt which position would be best for Mata.

"Some of Juan's touches were fantastic," Fletcher told MUTV after the West Ham win. "He pulled one out of the sky in the first half that was sublime.

"[Behind the forward] is Juan's natural position, he likes playing in there. And with the likes of Wayne running in behind defenders, he'll [Mata] always look to find him.

"We had great movement going forward and pace in the wide areas. People have been wanting to see that and it was there today."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
ESPN staff Close