Southampton vs Manchester United: Juan Mata looking forward to 'special reunion' with former manager Ronald Koeman

Koeman was Mata's manager at Valencia

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The Independent Online

Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata is looking forward to being reunited with his former manager Ronald Koeman.

Mata will face Koeman for the first time since the pair were at Valencia together in the 2007-08 season.

The Spaniard, who joined Valencia from Real Madrid's academy that summer, became a first-team regular after Koeman replaced Quique Flores despite being just 18 when the Dutch manager took charge.

However Koeman would last just over six months at the Mestalla, despite helping Valencia to the Copa del Rey, with the club struggling in 15th in La Liga.

Koeman.jpg
Ronald Koeman's Southampton are fourth in the Premier League

It’s going to be a special reunion, since Ronald Koeman was my manager in Valencia when I won my first title as a professional footballer: the Copa del Rey," wrote Mata in his blog.

"He was very important in my career because he gave me confidence and I played regularly, which is what every young player needs in his early years."

A win over Southampton would be five in a row and would move them back up above West Ham into third place.

"Our position in the Premiership [sic] table is now better after defeating Stoke in Old Trafford last Tuesday," he said.

"It was our fourth victory in a row and we can climb to the third spot if we manage to win again. That would be good news ahead of Christmas, although we want to get better and better throughout the whole month."

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