Juan Mata sung the praises of Manchester United team-mate Anthony Martial after the Frenchman scored one and set up the other in Saturday’s 2-0 victory against Watford.
Martial was recalled to the starting line-up for the first time in almost a month and seized his chance, laying on the opener for Mata before doubling his side’s lead with a sweetly struck effort.
Manager Jose Mourinho revealed afterwards that the 21-year-old, who has come in for criticism amid some underwhelming displays, had been restored for his hard work in training and Mata was delighted for the 21-year-old.
“I was very happy for him,” the Spain international told MUTV. “There were some difficult weeks for him, but he has been training good.
“He’s a great friend, he’s a great player and he can give us a lot of things and now he’s with confidence, he’s a terrific player.”
22- Anthony Martial has been involved in more PL goals for Man Utd than any other player since his debut (22 – 14 goals, 8 assists). Potent.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 11, 2017
The victory made it 16 top-flight games unbeaten for Mourinho’s men and Mata felt the first-half display was up there with United’s best of the campaign.
“I think we played good football,” he said. “We played very offensive, trying to create chances, especially in the first half.
“I think we played really good, we could have scored more goals, but the most important thing was that we got the three points through good football and I think the fans will come back to their houses very happy.
“It was one of the best halves in the season because, from the first minute, we knew that we had to play with a high tempo.
“We need to play the ball quickly and run in behind sometimes. It was very enjoyable to watch and even better to play.”