Ralf Rangnick has explained why he brought Juan Mata on as a substitute during Manchester United’s 2-1 defeat to Everton on Saturday.
In the first 25 minutes at Goodison Park, United had the best of the chances, with Marcus Rashford twice being denied by Jordan Pickford’s excellent saves. However, the hosts took the lead thanks to a deflected strike by Anthony Gordon, and they held on for a narrow triumph.
After falling down, United failed to create many chances, but Rangnick looked to his bench in the hopes of staging a comeback. Mata replaced Nemanja Matic in a double change that also saw Anthony Elanga replace Rashford. Mata has not played in a Premier League game this season prior to the trip to Everton.
Rangnick detailed why he decided to bring the 33-year-old on after the game to BT Sport. “We had to do something because we needed a goal,” he revealed. “I decided to introduce more creativity with him in midfield and more verticality with Anthony Elanga, but in the last 35 minutes, they were defending with all their players.”
“We didn’t always have enough players in the box when we played crosses into the box because we didn’t find the right person at the appropriate time.” The Manchester Evening News reported earlier this week that MLS clubs are interested in Mata, whose contract is set to expire at the conclusion of the season.