Manchester United playmaker Juan Mata revealed he was touched by the reception he received from Chelsea supporters at Stamford Bridge during Sunday’s 1-1 draw in the Premier League.
The Spain international, who played for the Blues between 2011 and 2014, was given thunderous applause by home supporters when he came off to be replaced by Ander Herrera in stoppage time.
Mata was swift to acknowledge the Chelsea fans after the match, which ended level after Diego Costa’s last-gasp equaliser cancelled out Jesse Lingard’s opener.
“It is always special for me to play in Stamford Bridge,” he wrote in his blog.
“My feelings are different in a day like this, but once the referee blows the whistle for the kick-off, in my mind the only goal is to win, to give everything you have to help the team and to enjoy on the pitch.
“I have to say that I am deeply grateful for the reception from the Chelsea fans and their applause when I was substituted.”
Costa’s leveller means United, who sit fifth, are six points behind Manchester City in fourth and 12 adrift of leaders Leicester City.
Louis van Gaal’s men only have four points from their last three league games, but Mata thinks they are on the brink of a strong run of form.
“From the first minute we went for the victory and played good football, but unfortunately we let slip two points in the last few moments,” added the 27-year-old.
“We are improving our game lately and I’m sure this is the way to get a series of good results in the next few weeks. The team is playing with more determination and confidence, and we want to keep it this way.”
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