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Dublin: 14 °C Thursday 15 November, 2018

Mourinho hails Mata's enduring worth as Spaniard signs new Man United contract

The 29-year-old has been in impressive form recently.

Mata has started 17 Premier League games this season.
Mata has started 17 Premier League games this season.
Image: PA Wire/PA Images

JOSE MOURINHO HAS hailed Juan Mata’s enduring worth after Manchester United triggered a clause in the Spaniard’s contract to keep him at Old Trafford until June 2019.

Following the activation of similar 12-month options to retain the services of Luke Shaw, Ander Herrera, Daley Blind and Ashley Young beyond this season, United have moved to secure Mata’s future.

The 29-year-old — whose original four-and-a-half year deal ran out this summer — has started 17 of United’s 24 Premier League games this campaign, scoring three times, and has become a key component of Mourinho’s side.

Only David de Gea, Romelu Lukaku, Nemanja Matic and Chris Smalling have started more league games this term, and in announcing the news, Mourinho — who sold the midfielder to United when he was Chelsea boss — underlined his importance.

“Mata is very important,” the United boss said. “When I arrived one-and-a-half years ago, [they said], ‘Mata is in trouble, in trouble, in trouble’, and now he’s getting an extension of one more year. An important player for me; important player for the club; important player for the other players.”

Mata has particularly impressed over the last month and although the arrival of Alexis Sanchez sparked rumours of a move to Valencia or Inter, he has stated his desire to remain a United player.

“I still feel very happy and very proud to be part of this club,” he added.

“I think everyone that belongs to Manchester United should feel privileged, and that’s how I feel.

“I’m happy with everyone at the club and, obviously, with the manager and my team-mates. Once you are part of this club, your football career is not the same; it changes, because this is one of the biggest clubs in football history. Every day I try to tell myself how lucky and how privileged I am, try to take advantage of every single training session, and try to see how important it is to be a Manchester United player.”

Since arriving from Chelsea in January 2014, the Spanish international has made 172 appearances for the Reds, scoring 39 goals, and has won the FA Cup, League Cup and Europa League during his time at Old Trafford.

United travel to Wembley to face Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday evening.

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Ryan Bailey

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