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
PROMOTED VIDEO
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
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy