Manchester United news: Jamie Carragher labels Juan Mata as one of the league's most underrated players

Mata has four goals already this season

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The Independent Football

Jamie Carragher believes Juan Mata’s big-game influence for Manchester United makes him one of the most underrated players in the Premier League.

The former Liverpool legend believes the Spaniard can now lay claim to being one of the best No 10s in the league after he took his tally to four goals in 15 appearances under Jose Mourinho this season.

The goal was also his 13th against one of the ‘big six’ clubs since he arrived in England with Chelsea from Valencia in 2011, more than any of his other playmaker rivals.

Mata’s time at Old Trafford was expected to be over in the summer upon Mourinho’s arrival after the Spaniard sold him to United in 2014, only six months after returning to Stamford Bridge.

However, his performances have arguably been the most stand-out from a United player this season and Carragher believes they have gone under the radar.

Speaking on Sky Sports, he said: “I think we're looking at one of the most underrated players in the Premier League.

“When we think of great No 10s, players who like to get in between the lines, players of his ilk like Ozil, De Bruyne, Coutinho, Silva and Hazard. We should be rating this man a lot higher.

“People always talk about assists with No 10s, but I don't care what position you play a goal is more important than an assist for me. He's getting more goals than any players in those positions, only Silva has more assists.”

“I think the reason he doesn't get that credit the others get, he was Player of the Year in his first two years at Chelsea, then Mourinho comes in – the best manager in the world – and decides ‘not for me’.

“People think, ‘Mourinho can't be wrong’, so there must be something wrong with Mata.

“He comes to Manchester United – ‘he's not a Manchester United player, he's got no pace, the fee is well over the odds’ - what No 10 does have pace? Martial? They paid £55m for him. He's doing more than him, and he hasn't got that pace.

 

“I think it's about time in this Premier League that we start looking at Juan Mata in this group of players as one of the top players in the league. It's not a flash in the pan, he's been here five years. He should start getting a lot more credit.”

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