Juan Mata admits Manchester United supporters “don’t deserve everything that is going on”, with the Red Devils having to fend off reports of unrest and questioning of Jose Mourinho’s future.
Off-field events have proved to be a distraction at Old Trafford throughout the 2018-19 campaign, with a frustrating summer transfer window having set the tone at the Theatre of Dreams.
Paul Pogba has seen his working relationship with Mourinho dominate the headlines, while club captain Antonio Valencia is currently paying the price for liking a social media post calling for his manager’s head.
The man at the United helm has earned a stay of execution on the back of a thrilling 3-2 victory over Newcastle, with battling qualities that have been in short supply helping to secure a much-needed win.
Mata was on target during a dramatic date with the Magpies on Saturday and admits that a loyal fan base deserve better than they have been served up this term, telling MUTV: “Definitely, they pushed us, they helped us, to go more, to try more, to give this 50 minutes more and I'm very happy for them.
“I'm very happy for the team, for us, but especially for the fans. They don't deserve everything that is going on, so they deserve to see a team like today.”
Mata added on a stunning fight back which saw United recover from two goals down to edge out Newcastle: “It was special. We were losing 2-0, they created even more chances to score more goals and confidence levels were low. We needed to change something and when you have nothing to lose you just throw it and you push even more.
“We couldn't afford another defeat, especially for the fans. I think they saw today that we tried everything and we came back and from the mental point of view it was a very important three points.”
Mata’s free-kick offered United a lifeline in their hour of need, with Anthony Martial and Alexis Sanchez also proving to be unlikely heroes on the back of recent struggles under Mourinho.
“We felt that if we scored it was not impossible, especially at Old Trafford,” said Mata.
“If you score once you can score a few goals in some minutes; I've seen Manchester United doing that a lot of times over the years and today we did it. Even though it felt very difficult we did it.
“We created more chances to score more goals and that's a very positive sign. I will say that today the victory is a pride victory. I felt that on the pitch, I did not want to feel another sadness feeling, another disappointment feeling.”