Speaking ahead of his team’s trip to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea, Louis van Gaal believes Juan Mata’s knowledge of their hosts will help his side in their efforts to ensure Champions League football.
Mata left Chelsea in the January transfer market of 2014 for £37.1 million in what was then a transfer record for tomorrow evening’s opponents. This came after two-and-a-half successful seasons at Stamford Bridge in which the club won the Champions League, the Europa League and the FA Cup. Mata also collected the Player of the Season award in 2012 and 2013.
The decision to sell him was the cause of great debate among Chelsea fans, even though the money was used to sign Nemanja Matic, one of Chelsea best players this season, and the United boss is hoping it will be a decision Chelsea will regret once the referee blows the final whistle tomorrow night.
Confirming the Spaniard’s involvement in the game, van Gaal said this to MUTV, Manchester United’s offcial television channel:
“Normally I always put players in the line-up if they’ve played for the opponent, so I think Mata shall play.”
On the game itself and its possible outcome’s, van Gaal continued:
“I think Chelsea will be satisfied with a draw, but of course they want to beat us and we want to beat them.”
A draw would be seen as a positive result for Chelsea, who travel to north London to play second place Arsenal next weekend, and avoiding defeat will be seen as the bare minimum needed as the season draws to a close and the title gets nearer.