Updates from Monday, Sept. 1
Juan Mata has revealed he did not suffer a serious injury in Manchester United's 0-0 draw against Burnley.
Mata limped off with what looked like a hamstring injury, but he explained in his personal blog:
I couldn’t finish the game as I got a cramp in the back of my leg, but according to the medical tests it is nothing to worry about.
Manchester United have kicked off the 2014-15 Premier League campaign in inconsistent form, and they now face another potential hurdle after Juan Mata suffered an apparent hamstring injury against Burnley.
Manchester United announced Mata's replacement, and Phil McNulty of BBC Sport noted Mata was favouring his hamstring:
87’ – Substitution. Mata is struggling with an injury and is replaced by Januzaj. #MUFClive— Manchester United (@ManUtd) August 30, 2014
Mata's pulled up holding his hamstring. He's done for.— Phil McNulty (@philmcnulty) August 30, 2014
Following the match, A Marshall and N Thomas of ManUtd.com provided a statement from Mata discussing the team's draw:
Obviously, we are disappointed. We came here to get three points and we didn't do it. We played better in the second half but it wasn't enough to win.
Maybe in the build-up [there were confidence issues] as we were trying to build up from the back but sometimes we didn't do it well. We have to keep fighting because that's what the manager wants. We have to believe as we have the quality players to do that.
I think we were on top in the last 20 minutes of the game but didn't score. We played most of the time in their half which is good but, if you don't score from these chances, then it's not good enough. I believe, when we try to play football in the last third, we can create but we played too many long balls in the first half which is maybe why we didn't play as well.
Mata is expected to be integral to the future success of Louis van Gaal’s side, but a lingering hamstring injury would certainly derail those plans.
The 26-year-old is rather reliable on the injury front, though, with his fitness being one of the most impressive parts of his game. Now, the Spaniard may face some time on the sidelines in an effort to ensure he is healthy long-term this season.
The incident could put United in a little bit of a pickle selection-wise, as Mata’s boots are big ones to fill at Old Trafford.
They’ll certainly miss Mata’s contribution no matter the line-up, though, if this proves to be a persisting injury. While Wayne Rooney is more than capable filling in behind Robin van Persie and company, having the Englishman drop deep will leave another void to fill up front.
We may look back on today as the beginning of life without Mata for some time for United. If Mata is forced to remain on the sidelines, Van Gaal will be looking to show his tactical prowess to keep his team on the right side of the result.
The Dutchman will also be hoping that any new forward setup can jell immediately if Mata doesn't don the famous red shirt anytime soon.