LEICESTER — Manchester United attacker Juan Mata admits he was “a bit lucky” to escape a red card for his challenge on Jamie Vardy in Sunday’s 3-0 win over Leicester.
Mata caught Vardy with a late lunge in the first half of the clash at King Power Stadium, with referee Anthony Taylor deciding a yellow card was sufficient punishment.
The Spain international went on to score United’s third goal, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Zlatan Ibrahimovic having put Jose Mourinho’s side ahead with two goals in the space of 88 first half seconds.
Mata was delighted with his side’s clinical performance but accepted he was perhaps fortunate to have stayed on the pitch.
“I was late, I tried to reach the ball, I didn’t want to hurt Jamie,” he told to Sky Sports.
“Probably I was a bit lucky but I just wanted to get the ball because I lost it 10 seconds before.
“The performance was quite good. Even before scoring the first goal we were trying to control the game through ball possession.
“Mkhitaryan’s was an incredible goal and after that we played very good and could have scored twice more. We’re very happy because we took our chances.
“It was very important for Mkhitaryan and I to score because Ibrahimovic is scoring a lot but we need goals from others as well.”
Mkhitaryan struck with a powerful run and finish after being moved into a central role behind Ibrahimovic, though he started wide on the left in a 4-4-2 set-up.
“It was something we prepared before the game,” Mkhitaryan said.
“The manager said ‘if it doesn’t work with two strikers then we have to change the formation’, so that’s what we did.
“It’s not something that’s new for us. We’ve changed the formation in many games.” — Agencies