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:
BBC Sport @BBCSport
Bad news for Man Utd. Zlatan Ibrahimovic & Marcos Rojo have been ruled out for the season. More: https://t.co/Qi6grJVsYr https://t.co/08SHGNjm3D2017-4-22 17:54:00
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:
ᗷIᒪᒪ ᖇIᑕᕮ 🎙📻 @billrice23
Mourinho: "If I was Smalling or Jones I would play Thursday. I would not accept one guy play 9 games in a row because I am injured." #MUFC2017-4-23 16:43:19
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.
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