Manchester United

Jose Mourino must start this £27m-rated midfielder tonight to unlock Sevilla’s defence

The Manchester United fans are feeling relatively confident in the Transfer Tavern ahead of their clash with Sevilla this evening.

Jose Mourinho takes his side to Spain tonight for the first leg of their last-sixteen Champions League encounter with Sevilla at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium. United go into their tie on the back of a comfortable 2-0 victory over Huddersfield in the FA Cup 5th round last weekend which arrived courtesy of 2 goals from Romelu Lukaku. Lukaku’s brace took his tally to 21 for the season from 38 appearances in all-competitions – an impressive record for a player who has been so widely lambasted by supporters and pundits alike since his move from Everton last summer.

The Belgian international’s goals were remarkably similar in style, as both Juan Mata (valued at £27 million by Transfermarkt) and Alexis Sanchez played delightfully weighted through balls to dissect Huddersfield’s defence and assist Lukaku’s strikes either side of half-time.

Mata’s assist was only his 6th of the season in all-competitions – a slightly underwhelming statistic considering the creative role he plays – but that should not deter Mourinho from starting him once again tonight.

Although Mata’s record does not suggest he is an integral part of United’s attacking line-up, his overall performances suggest otherwise. Within United’s squad there are plenty of extremely talented attacking players who can hurt Sevilla tonight such as Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Alexis Sanchez, but none of those players possesses the creativity and guile which Mata can boast in abundance.

The qualities that Mata brings to United are completely unique of what any other player can offer, and his ability to complete an incisive pass which others would fail to spot could make all the difference within the tense atmosphere of a Champions League knockout tie.

Considering Mourinho’s managerial style and his history in the competition, it is likely that it will be a cagey affair this evening, so he simply must start Mata from the outset to ensure that United have a creative edge in the final-third to prise Sevilla’s defence wide open. Do you agree?

Man Utd fans – thoughts?
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