Jamie Carragher makes bold claim about Juan Mata and Man United

Jamie Carragher believes Jose Mourinho's decision to sell Juan Mata to Man United from Chelsea tainted the midfielder's reputation

Jamie Carragher has described Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata as one of the most underrated players in the Premier League.

The Spanish midfielder scored the Red Devils’ opener in a 1-1 draw with bitter rivals Arsenal at Old Trafford in Saturday’s early kick-off.

Mata has netted three times and has made one assist in 10 Premier League appearances under Jose Mourinho in the 2016-17 season so far.

The World Cup winner has scored 30 times in 119 appearances in all competitions since the midfielder’s £37.1m move to the Red Devils in 2013.

Former Liverpool defender Carragher believes Mourinho’s initial handling of Mata at Chelsea tainted the Spanish playmaker’s reputation.

“I think we’re looking at one of the most underrated players in the Premier League,” Carragher told Sky Sports.

“I think the reason he doesn’t get that credit the others get is that he played his first two years here with Chelsea, then [Jose] Mourinho comes in – the ‘best manager in the world’ – and gets rid of him so everyone thinks ‘Mourinho can’t be wrong, so there must be something wrong with Mata’.

“He goes to Manchester United, but he’s not a Manchester United player, he hasn’t got any pace and the fee is well over the odds for him. But what No 10 has got pace?

“I think it’s about time now that we start looking at Mata in these group of players – Kevin De Bruyne, Philippe Coutinho, David Silva, Eden Hazard – as one of the top players in the Premier League, which he is and has been.

“It’s not a flash in the pan. He’s been here five or six years, and he should start getting a lot more credit.”

Mata won the Champions League, the Europa League and the FA Cup during a three-and-a-half year stay at Stamford Bridge.

The Spanish midfielder was named Chelsea’s player of the season in 2012 and 2013 before Mourinho sold Mata to Manchester United in the 2013 January transfer window.

The former Valencia man scored in Manchester United’s 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace in the FA Cup final in May earlier this year.

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