Juan Mata unveiling: £37.1m Manchester United signing quick to praise Wayne Rooney following switch

Mata attended his first press conference since leaving the Blues for their Premier League rivals United

Juan Mata has quickly taken the opportunity to talk up new Manchester United team-mate Wayne Rooney, saying he is one of the best English players “in history”.

The Spaniard made the assertion during his unveiling following his £37.1m switch from Chelsea.

"For me he is one of the best players in the history of this country," Mata said.

"He is unbelievable, he can score and he can assist.

"I will try to connect with him as much as I can. I will try to find the gaps in rival defences, try to be in the positions I have to be in to assist the strikers."

Mata's praise for Rooney comes after it was revealed that the England striker has been briefed on United's transfer plans and ambitions as the club look to commit him to a new contract.

David Moyes sat smiling alongside his new signing as Mata said it was a “great” feeling to complete what is undoubtedly the biggest transfer of the January window so far.

“Obviously the last six months at Chelsea were difficult for me,” said the Spaniard. “But now I'm looking forward to winning trophies for Manchester United. The welcome was unbelievable for me, coming here by helicopter... even for the fans on social media.”

Mata refused to blame his former manager Jose Mourinho for freezing him out at Chelsea since he returned in the summer. Mourinho decided that Brazilian attacking midfielder Oscar would be the focus of his side rather than the two-time Chelsea player of the year, and elected to drop Mata to the bench – sometimes from the squad completely – which eventually led to his departure.

VIDEO: Mata explains Chelsea exit

“I think it's football, everything is possible,” Mata explained when speaking about the manner of his Stamford Bridge exit. “The first two moments at Chelsea were amazing. The last six months at Chelsea were difficult but I respect that. Jose is a very good manager, they have top players, I respected my team-mates. When Man United came it was a great option for me.”

Asked about the pressure that comes with his price tag, Mata said: "I like the pressure, I think it's good for a footballer to try to improve.

"People are expecting big things from me and I am looking forward to it."

Mata, who will wear the number eight shirt, said he was attracted by the character of United and their reputation for never giving up, even claiming they were not out of the Premier League title race.

"It's a new challenge for me," he said. "This one was a massive challenge for me.

"What I like the most about this club is the character. I think if another club were in this position in the league, I think it would be very difficult to come back and take first position, but this club can do it.

"This is the real image I have from Man United, always fighting to win titles, always coming back from difficult moments.

"The team is really good, the squad is really good. This season they have had some unlucky moments they didn't deserve. Hopefully from now until the end of the season we will win as many games as we can."

Mata revealed the move was "really important" to his hopes of making Spain's squad for the World Cup and said he was "really happy" to be at United.

"I just wanted to go to a place where I would feel happy," he added.

Asked about what position he would prefer to play in, Mata diplomatically responded: "I think that's a question for him (Moyes). I would like to play anywhere."

 

Read more:
Mata takes the No 8 shirt
Mata’s sale to United shows that in big-money transfers even Europe’s richest clubs must accept the new rules
United reach agreement with Chelsea for transfer of Mata for club-record £37m fee
Mourinho feels honesty is best policy over Mata transfer
Mourinho: Wenger should stop moaning, I would have sold to Arsenal and Manchester City
Sir Alex Ferguson to carry on attending Manchester United matches
Mourinho confirms Chelsea 'are done' in the transfer window
Rooney row with Chelsea factor in United using third party deal to sign Mata
Mata will take United into the Champions League - according to Football Manager
Manchester United's most expensive signings... were the worth it?
Are Manchester United About to sign the most effective midfielder in the Premier League?
Pellegrini agrees with Wenger - Mata move is unfair
Chelsea will regret selling Mata to United - Wenger
Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Giants Club: After wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, Uganda’s giants flourish once again

Uganda's giants are flourishing once again

After the wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, elephant populations are finally recovering
The London: After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

Archaeologists will recover a crucial item from the wreck of the London which could help shed more light on what happened in the vessel's final seconds
Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

The invention involves turbojets and ramjets - a type of jet engine - and a rocket motor
10 best sun creams for kids

10 best sun creams for kids

Protect delicate and sensitive skin with products specially formulated for little ones
Tate Sensorium: New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art

Tate Sensorium

New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art
Ashes 2015: Nice guy Steven Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

Nice guy Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

He was man-of-the-match in the third Test following his recall to the England side
Ashes 2015: Remember Ashton Agar? The No 11 that nearly toppled England

Remember Ashton Agar?

The No 11 that nearly toppled England
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks