Martin Keown: This player has been the key for Man United

Martin Keown believes that Juan Mata deserves special praise for his performances for Manchester United of late

Martin Keown has talked up the impact Juan Mata has had in the Manchester United team under Jose Mourinho this season.

The Spanish playmaker has been a regular fixture in the Red Devils’ side this term and has been in impressive form under the Portuguese coach.

Former Chelsea star Mata has scored seven goals and made two assists for Manchester United in all competitions this season.

The Spaniard scored Manchester United’s opener as they beat Hull City 2-0 in the EFL Cup on Tuesday night.

And Keown believes that Manchester United’s upturn in form under their new manager in recent weeks is largely thanks to Mata’s improved performances.

Writing in his column for The Daily Mail, Keown said: “Jose Mourinho’s side have moved on since their negative display to draw 0-0 at Anfield earlier in the season. There is a nice balance to their team.

“In Mkhitaryan and Mata they have more artists in the team. There is more flair, more creativity.

“There is a lot more tempo to United’s game and they are playing with much more confidence.

“Mata is the player who stitches everything together. He is always there for the tap in or the rescue goal. He has had to work very hard to impress Mourinho but the manager has shown that he will give everyone a second chance.”

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Manchester United are currently sixth in the Premier League table as they prepare for their crunch clash with Liverpool at Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon.

The Red Devils are 10 points behind leaders Chelsea.

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