Mata calm about Manchester United contract situation

The midfielder has no plans to depart England even though his contract at Old Trafford is running down.

Queen Sofia presents the Queen Sofia Award for fair play to Juan Mata in Madrid.
Queen Sofia presents the Queen Sofia Award for fair play to Juan Mata in Madrid.
Image: PA Wire/PA Images

JUAN MATA IS calm about his contract situation with Manchester United and is uncertain whether he will ever return to Spain in the future.

The Manchester United winger’s contract is set to expire next summer and no new deal has been offered, despite the fact he could leave for free at the end of the season.

Mata was in Madrid on Thursday to be recognised with an award honouring his work setting up the Common Goal charity, presented by Queen Sofia of Spain.

And after, he was asked about his future by AS, specifically about whether a return to Spain could happen.

“I don’t know,” Mata told AS. “I’ve been in England for a good while, in a league that I’m well accustomed to and where I’ve adapted well, but it’s true that at times you miss home, your family, your friends.

“But I don’t know if I’ll return to Spain in the near future.”

“I’m calm [about the situation at United]. I’m at the fantastic club that is Manchester United, one of the biggest in the world.

“I have to think about the short term and do well from now on.”

While Mata might be in the last six months of his United contract, the attacker is focused on the rest of the season as the club try to recover from their poor start which saw manager Jose Mourinho sacked.

The goal for the Red Devils is to reach the top four, according to Mata.

Spain: Valencia-Manchester United Mata is out of contract at United this summer. Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

“We’ve picked up some good results,” he said. “We’re trying to play as well as possible to win for the club.

“We were going through a difficult time and we’re focused on finishing the season as well as possible and reaching our goal of a place in the Champions League. We would like to have other objectives but that is the reality.”

Mourinho’s sacking saw Mata’s second spell under the manager come to an end.

That first, at Chelsea, did not end harmoniously after Mourinho refused to play Mata, but the former World Cup winner says he has no ill will toward the Portuguese after their time together at Old Trafford.

“I’ve played under him on two occasions, at Chelsea and Manchester United,” Mata explained. “This year things were difficult, we weren’t getting results, but I’m sure — as he has said himself — he will return to football soon and I wish him all the best.”

United have been rejuvenated under interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with five straight wins, four of which came in the Premier League.

Mata doesn’t believe much has changed aside from Solskjaer giving the players confidence, but he warns that there will be difficulties despite the early success the team has enjoyed under the Norwegian.

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“Nothing has changed in particular,” Mata added.

“A coach came in who is a club legend and has given us confidence. I think it was important to start well and we got a good result away from home and from then on everything has gone well.

“I’m sure that there will be difficult times under this manager between now and the end of the season but we’ll give our all.”

Ahead of a huge weekend of Heineken Champions Cup action, Murray Kinsella, Andy Dunne and Gavan Casey assess the provinces’ chances of putting a foot in the last eight:

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