Juan Mata Hopes to Return from Injury Before Manchester United's Season Ends

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistApril 24, 2017

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MARCH 16:  Juan Mata of Manchester celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the UEFA Europa  League Round of 16 second leg match between Manchester United and FK Rostov at Old Trafford on March 16, 2017 in Manchester, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)
Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Juan Mata has revealed he could return to play for Manchester United in the latter stages of the season despite having previously been ruled out to the end of May after undergoing groin surgery. 

The Spanish playmaker wrote on his personal website that he has been improving and is hopeful of playing again in 2016-17:

As you can imagine, this month has been a bit too long for me due to my injury… I had never been in a situation like this before (I’ve been very lucky), but the truth is I’m feeling much better now and I hope to be back with the team soon, to try to help in the last spell of the season. I hope so, because that’s all I want: being always available to help and to contribute as much as I can, both on and off the pitch. A million thanks for all your messages wishing me a speedy recovery, I’m getting closer!

United are in the midst of an injury crisis. As well as Mata, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Marcos Rojo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic are all sidelined.

The Red Devils are into the semi-finals of the UEFA Europa League—their first leg against Celta Vigo is on May 4—and they face a tough end to the season as they attempt to break into the top four, starting with a derby against Manchester City on Thursday. 

Per BBC Sport, Ibrahimovic and Rojo are both out for the rest of the season:

Jones and Smalling should return soon, though, and manager Jose Mourinho urged the pair to be ready for the visit to City, per BBC Radio Manchester's Bill Rice:

The Portuguese manager previously claimed Mata would not return before the season's end, per ESPN FC's Mark Ogden.

So if the former Chelsea man can get fit for the run-in it would be a huge boost for United.

The 28-year-old is an experienced and calming presence within the United squad and plays a huge role in making their attack work effectively.

With a packed end to the season to come Mourinho needs as many players fit as possible, and Mata will be welcomed back enthusiastically if he can get back to fitness. 

For more news, rumours and related stories about Juan Mata, Manchester United and the Premier League, check out the Premier League and Manchester United streams on Bleacher Report's app.

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