Juan Mata: Why I was on Man United penalty duty ahead of Wayne Rooney
Juan Mata says he was Manchester United's first-choice penalty taker ahead of Wayne Rooney against Wolfsburg
Juan Mata has revealed that it was Louis van Gaal’s decision for him to be on penalty duty after his spot-kick helped fire Manchester United to a 2-1 in over Wolfsburg in the Champions League on Wednesday night.
The Red Devils fell behind inside four minutes at Old Trafford when Daniel Caligiuri finished off a stylish six-pass move for the opener.
However, Mata drew the home side level when he confidently fired home his penalty in the 34th minute after Caligiuri handled the ball in the box.
And Mata turned provider after the break, when his sumptuous back-heel put Chris Smalling through on goal, with the defender directing the ball past the on-rushing Diego Benaglio in the 53rd minute to put United ahead.
Questions were raised as to why Mata took the penalty ahead of usual spot-kick favourite Wayne Rooney – but the Spaniard provided a simple answer after the game.
Mata told BT Sport: “The manager has a list of penalty takers and I’m the first one now, so I have confidence.”
United take on Arsenal at Emirates Stadium on Sunday afternoon.