Former Manchester United star Ryan Giggs believes Juan Mata has earned the trust of manager Jose Mourinho for his performances this season.
The Spain international was sold to United by Mourinho when he was Chelsea manager in January 2014, and his future at Old Trafford was called into question when the Portuguese took over from Louis van Gaal this year.
Mata was furious when he was substituted in the Community Shield win over Leicester City just 27 minutes after being brought on in the second half, but he has gone on to establish himself as a key component of Mourinho’s side and scored his fourth goal of the season in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Arsenal.
And Giggs, who was United assistant manager under Van Gaal and a coach under predecessor David Moyes, believes the 28-year-old is thriving in the current set-up.
Asked if Mata had earned Mourinho’s faith, Giggs told Sky Sports: “I think he has, and rightly so. He is a very good player and a brilliant professional.
“The key to Juan being effective is getting the legs around him. He has a footballing brain and when you have Antonio Valencia overlapping, Marcus Rashford in the channels, the energy of Ander Herrera and the power of Paul Pogba, then it makes it easier for him because he doesn’t have to do the running, which he can do.
“His number one position is number 10, but he’s done it [played wide] for so long. He played off the right for Chelsea.”
— Juan Mata García (@juanmata8) November 19, 2016