Transfer news: Juan Mata arrival can lift the entire Manchester United squad and fill them with confidence, claims Gary Neville

Neville admits David Moyes' side have been flat this season but feels Mata's addition could boost their confidence and return them to where they were six months ago

Juan Mata’s arrival at Manchester United could lift the rest of the squad and generate the creativity they are clearly lacking, says former defender Gary Neville after the £37.1m capture of the Spanish midfielder.

United completed the club-record transfer on Saturday to kick the January transfer window into life, with Mata already targeting the Premier League title after completing his transfer from rivals Chelsea.

And speaking to Sky Sports News, Neville believes the 25-year-old’s arrival will lift the rest of the squad from what has been a lacklustre first half of the season, with David Moyes’ side lying in seventh place in the league table and already out of both domestic cup competitions.

“Hopefully Mata will have a big impact on the rest of the players because they seem flat, they've lost their confidence at times; creativity in the final third has been a problem,” said Neville.

“They just need to do more; they are not achieving what they are capable of. They are fantastic players who were champions six months ago, so it doesn't just go overnight but the confidence has dipped and this could be the moment where it lifts everybody at the club.

“I don't think any of the newspapers - whilst they've obviously had a lot of attention on the manager and the club over the last few weeks - none of them are saying that David Moyes' tenure is under threat because they know the football club.

“Football has gone mad with managers in the last couple of years but David Moyes will get a good few years to be able to perform here and do his work and rightly so because it's a tough job.

“I don't think the team has done itself justice at the moment - there is a good group of players here who are capable of a lot more than they are achieving at this moment in time.

“But what Mata will do is provide a great element of creativity and they need that because at the moment they are not creating anywhere near enough in the final third.”

Before the deal went through, Neville stressed that in his eyes, Mata was not the type of player that suited United’s style of play nor what they needed to salvage their season.

However, he did admit that his talent was unquestionable, but he has questioned where Moyes will choose to play the Spain international once Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie are fit to return.

“It will be intriguing to see where he fits in. You'd think that Rooney and van Persie are number one and number two up front so I'd think he's going to play off the side, to the right or left.

“Obviously, Januzaj has been playing right or left in the first parts of the season so I'd imagine that between them Ashley Young, Antonio Valencia and Shinji Kagawa it will be intriguing to see how he fits in but one thing is for certain - he will be in because he's a quality player.

“He's a fantastic player; he's technically excellent, creates goals, scores goals. My comments last week around it were the fact that he's not a typical Manchester United player in as much as Manchester United typically in wide areas have played with wingers.

“Mata is a different type of player who isn't going to be out wide and beating men and putting crosses in. But maybe a bit of change is good.”

Mata could make his debut on Tuesday in the Premier League visit of Old Trafford, but he is more likely to wear the red of United on the weekend when Moyes’ side travel to Stoke, due to his lack of match fitness having not played competitive football since New Year’s Day.

 

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

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most