Mata says sorry for United meltdown against Leicester

The Spanish playmaker admits the trip back to Manchester seemed ‘really long’.

Angel di Maria and Juan Mata.
Angel di Maria and Juan Mata.
Image: Nigel French

MANCHESTER UNITED FORWARD Juan Mata has apologised for his team’s Premier League meltdown against Leicester that left them 12th in the league after five matches.

United looked set for a comfortable win after moving 3-1 ahead at the King Power stadium on Sunday, but some abject defending in the final half hour allowed Leicester to record their first home win over the Red Devils in 29 years, eventually running out 5-3 winners.

“After a whole week waiting for the match I could not imagine a Sunday like this,” Mata said. ”The way back from Leicester to Manchester on the bus seemed really long.

“I keep thinking about how we lost a game that was under control. It’s really tough to score three goals away and come back home with no points.

“On our way back to Manchester I was thinking about what had happened and felt so disappointed as all those that came with us to the stadium.

“Honestly, I feel very sorry that the weekend ended up for our fans in such a sad way.”

Former United captain Gary Neville said the team looked “soft-centred” and ex-Holland striker Ruud Gullit criticised manager Louis van Gaal for spending the majority of his transfer budget on the likes of Falcao, Angel di Maria and Ander Herrera when defensive reinforcements were needed more.

Former United coach Rene Meulensteen also expressed his surprise that Van Gaal had not yet handed Luke Shaw his debut.

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Van Gaal left Shaw on the bench for the last two games despite a number of injuries in defence. Asked whether he thought his fellow Dutchman does not rate £28million signing Shaw, Meulensteen told TalkSPORT: “Yes. It’s a big surprise for me.

“He would have been informed by the club that they were putting this bid in for Shaw because he’s an up-and-coming player.

“He’s got a good left foot and a lot of pace. He’s got a lot to learn to get to a Man United level though. He’s a great prospect but he’s brought (Marcos) Rojo in, which is bad news for Shaw.”

- © AFP, 2014

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