United’s Mata subbed for being ‘smallest player’


Juan Mata (L) is greeted by manager Jose Mourinho (C) and first team coach Silvino Louro (R) at Wembley Stadium in London on August 7, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

Juan Mata (L) is greeted by manager Jose Mourinho (C) and first team coach Silvino Louro (R) at Wembley Stadium in London on August 7, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata was replaced in his side’s Community Shield win on Sunday over Leicester City “because he was the smallest player”.

The Red Devils’ new manager, Jose Mourinho, admitted that the Spaniard, who came off the bench on the 63rd minute, had to return to it 30 minutes later for being short. “I needed to take off the smallest player because we were expecting a lot of long balls,” said Mourinho.

The midfielder, who is 5ft 7in tall, was replaced by United’s 5ft 10in tall new signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

PHOTO: AFP

Juan Mata must earn his place in first-team, says Mourinho

Mourinho put his arm around the Spaniard when the latter came off, however the former Valencia player looked unimpressed.

“The rules allow six changes, I had made five and I wanted to stop the game,” said Mourinho. “I think he [Mata] played very well. He gave me exactly what I needed.”

Nevertheless, BBC pundit Danny Murphy said the decision was “embarrassing” for the 28-year-old.

“You don’t do that unless you are trying to send a message,” said Murphy.

PHOTO: AFP

Ibrahimovic fires Man Utd to Community Shield win

“They have a lot of history at Chelsea and he has embarrassed him in front of his supporters and his family.

“He is basically saying to him you are not important and he has done it publicly.

“I can’t see him still being at the club at the end of August.”

The game finished 2-1 in favour of United, who gained their first piece of silverware under the new manager.

This article initially appeared on BBC Sports


Original news : http://tribune.com.pk/story/1157857/uniteds-mata-subbed-smallest-player/