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The man who makes a difference at Man United

Patrick Power by Patrick Power @rfutbol - 0 7,043

Pin A key role in the United team. EFE
A key role in the United team. EFE

The man who makes a difference at Man United

Patrick Power by Patrick Power @rfutbol - 0 7,043

After crashing out of the Champions League, Jose Mourinho and Paul Pogba have taken the brunt of criticism at Manchester United. One man has clearly emerged as the unsung hero at Old Trafford.

He starred in Saturday's victory over Premier League rivals Liverpool, which saw them solidify their claim for a top-four spot, but many were stunned to find that Juan Mata was to be named as a substitute in the Champions League last-16 tie with Sevilla at Old Trafford.

The decision to leave out the Spaniard until the 77th minute was only made worse by a dismal performance from Paul Pogba, who came off the bench earlier in the second half. Had Jose Mourinho considered the recent statistics presented by Spanish reporter Eduardo Fdez-Abascal, perhaps his approach to the clash would have been somewhat different and, who knows, maybe United's fortunes in Europe's elite club competition.

The numbers do not lie, and when Juan Mata is over-looked, as he was in Tuesday night's Old Trafford calamity, Manchester United suffer. When Mata is picked over the likes of Jesse Lingard, who has played big a role in Mourinho's selection headaches this season, United win 82 per cent of their competitive matches.

However, United have won a measly 47 per cent of their games without the former Valencia and Chelsea playmaker in the starting line-up.

While Mourinho's side have lost once when Mata started in the Premier League - a 2-1 defeat at Huddersfield - they have won 15 of their 19 games with him in the starting XI, as opposed to the five in 11 matches without him.

Mata left Chelsea for United after he was considered surplus to requirement by then-manager Mourinho, and the Portuguese boss then followed him to Old Trafford. Mata has gone on to prove his value. Statistics show that the Spaniard is the unsung hero of Jose Mourinho's Manchester United side

Patrick Power

Patrick Power

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