Chelsea vs Manchester United: Juan Mata hails ‘perfect response’ to PSG defeat by beating FA Cup holders

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer suffered his first setback in charge of United last week with defeat against Paris Saint-Germain

Mark Critchley
Northern Football Correspondent
Tuesday 19 February 2019 10:04
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer impressed by Paul Pogba in Manchester United win

Juan Mata hailed Manchester United’s FA Cup win at Chelsea as the “perfect reaction” to losing their unbeaten record under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and credited his manager's tactics for the victory.

Solskjaer suffered his first setback in charge of United last week when Paris Saint-Germain came away from Old Trafford with a 2-0 first-leg lead in the Champions League last-16.

The defeat came at a challenging point in United’s season, with important games against Chelsea and Liverpool on the horizon.

But United passed the first of those tests with ease on Monday night, as goals from Ander Herrera and man-of-the-match Paul Pogba put them through to the FA Cup quarter-finals.

“I think it was the perfect reaction to our defeat to Paris Saint-Germain,” Mata said after the final whistle, having started from the off against his former club.

“It’s never easy to come to Stamford Bridge, to win against Chelsea, to not concede any goals, to play some good football.

“I think it was a very good evening for us and gives us a lot of confidence for the next games.”

Without the injured pair of Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard, Solskjaer changed his approach and deployed a midfield diamond against Chelsea.

Mata played in a No 10 role, behind strike partners Romelu Lukaku and Marcus Rashford, and the Spaniard suggested that Solskjaer's tactics played their part in the win.

“I think it was good preparation from the manager, from the staff,” he said.

“We knew what we had to do, we knew how to press, with the ball we did some good things. I think we still can do better.

“Overall, we’re very happy with the preparation, with the formation and with the result.”

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has transformed United this season

A meeting with rivals Liverpool awaits at Old Trafford on Sunday and Mata is relishing the prospect of upsetting the rhythm Jurgen Klopp’s side and their title challenge.

“It’s one of those games we have in our calendar with a red spot waiting for it,” he said.

“It’s one of the big ones and we want to win. We play at home and hopefully will be a very good day for us at Old Trafford.”

United will play Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux in the FA Cup quarter-finals on the weekend of 16-17 March.

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