David Silva: Manchester United have not got the best out of Juan Mata

 

They have shared two cities, a club and a World Cup winners' medal but David Silva believes that Manchester United have failed to get the best from Juan Mata.

Silva and Mata left Valencia for England within a year of each other. One has won a League championship, the other has lifted the European Cup. Their friendship is solid and Silva had welcomed Mata's move to Old Trafford which was supposed to have re-energised a slow, toothless midfield.

Instead, he has been as unable to find a consistent role under David Moyes as he had under Jose Mourinho at Chelsea. It may have been coincidence but Mata was missing from the only compelling United performance since his arrival – the 3-0 win over Olympiakos.

Follow all of the action with our live blog here

"It is a difficult situation for him because the team is not playing that well," said Silva as he prepared to face Mata in Tuesday's Manchester derby. "They have not managed to bring out the best out in him but he is a very talented player and he will show it.

"He wasn't getting the minutes at Chelsea so it was a good move for him to go to United. I have been out to dinner with him and his family and we are friends. Anything he needs, he knows he can come to me for. Maybe after the game we can have a meal; it depends."

Whether Mata feels like entering a restaurant will depend on the result, and few in the red half of Manchester are optimistic. For years City carried out a guerilla war against Sir Alex Ferguson's great empire. They delighted in stories of how, after a 3-1 defeat at Maine Road, he threatened to let United's fans into the dressing room "so they can show you how they feel". They were rare triumphs and they had to be savoured. Now they will go to Old Trafford expecting to win.

Silva has become one of the club's leaders, though he does not look like one. He lacks the physical presence of a Patrick Vieira, or Roy Keane's wild stare. You cannot imagine him slamming his fist into a dressing-room door.

And yet last weekend the shy, wonderfully skilled boy from Gran Canaria drove his team over the line on a day when the Premier League title race changed complexion. Both City and Chelsea were away, both had a man sent off. Chelsea did not recover, but 10 minutes after the loss of Vincent Kompany at Hull, Silva unleashed a wonderful shot into the corner of Allan McGregor's net. Just before the end, he produced a balletic pass for Edin Dzeko to score the second.

"It was an extremely important win after an extremely difficult week [that had seen City eliminated from the FA Cup and the Champions' League]," said Silva. "If we had lost that one, we would probably have thrown away the Premier League."

Silva received a standing ovation in defeat at Barcelona, something a stadium very rarely grants an opponent in England. Vieira has compared him to Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo and it seems inevitable he will return to Spain.

"The standing ovations happened to me when we played Villarreal and Real Madrid," said Silva. "It is something that makes me very proud."

And he added: "I am flattered with the reports linking me to Barcelona, but it's just rumours. I am very used to rumours every summer." His ambition, he insisted, was simple: "To regain the Premier League and win the European Cup with City."

David Silva is an ambassador for Anfi Group, a luxury holiday company on the holiday island of Gran Canaria. For more information, visit: www.anfi.com

New Articles
tvDownton Abbey Christmas special
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
News
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashion
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all