The Spanish playmaker was given the armband by Louis van Gaal just days after he was sent off in the first half of United’s 1-0 loss to West Bromwich Albion last weekend.
Mata failed to galvanise his team-mates and was substituted in the 79th minute at Anfield as goals from Daniel Sturridge and Roberto Firmino handed Liverpool the initiative in the first leg of the Europa League last 16 tie.
And Scholes admits that he was surprised to see Mata be given the armband for the crunch clash, with the Manchester United midfielder claiming that Louis van Gaal’s side lack natural leaders.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, Scholes said: “How is Juan Mata captain? He’s a good player and he’s had a good month. But to be captain of Manchester United?
“I don’t think there are many real leaders in there. Chris Smalling? The goalkeeper? They, possibly, could be captain but are they real Manchester United captains?”
United take on West Ham at Old Trafford in their FA Cup quarter-final clash on Sunday afternoon.
MORE: The latest football news