Juan Mata said Paul Pogba showed why he is one of the best players in the world during Manchester United’s FA Cup victory over Chelsea.
Pogba scored one and set up the other as United eliminated FA Cup holders Chelsea 2-0 at Stamford Bridge on Monday.
After delivering the cross for Ander Herrera’s 31st-minute opener, Pogba headed in a goal of his own on the stroke of half-time to give United their first win away at Chelsea since 2012.
United midfielder Mata heaped praise on his star team-mate, who has been involved in 15 goals (nine goals and six assists) since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer replaced Jose Mourinho in December.
“He assisted the cross for the first goal, scored the second one,” Mata said afterwards. “Even in the second half, 80, 85 minutes he was still defending, going forwards. He’s very, very complete.
“He’s got physique, he’s got quality, he’s got a pass, he can go box to box. He’s one of the best. Today he showed why.”
It was the perfect response from United, who suffered a 2-0 defeat to Paris Saint-Germain in the opening leg of their Champions League round-of-16 tie last week.
With United facing an uphill battle to reach the Champions League quarters in the absence of banned midfielder Pogba and sitting fourth in the Premier League, the FA Cup is viewed as the club’s most realistic chance for silverware.
However, Mata said: “Obviously we had a difficult result against PSG, but we still believe we can come back.
“In the Premier League our main target is to get top four, after a very good run of results. One or two months ago it was pretty impossible to get where we are now, so we want to keep that position.
— Juan Mata García (@juanmata8) February 18, 2019
“And in the FA Cup we’re close to Wembley. So hopefully we can go to Wembley again with all our fans, because it’s a very nice feeling.”
Before United head to Paris for their return fixture against PSG next month, they will host Premier League title contenders Liverpool on Sunday.
United are 14 points behind Liverpool, who can move above Manchester City with a draw or win at Old Trafford.
“It’s one of those games we have in our calendar with a red spot waiting for it,” Mata added. “It’s one of the big ones and we want to win. We play at home and hopefully will be a very good day for us at Old Trafford.”
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