Manchester United legend Gary Neville has warned Juan Mata that his goalscoring record may not save his Old Trafford career, reports the Daily Star.
Mata - who signed for the Red Devils from Chelsea for a then club record fee of £37.1 million - had scored 8 goals in his last 10 Premier League outings before yesterday's clash with Premier League new-boys Leicester City.
However, as United went down by five goals to three at the King Power Stadium, the Spaniard was left on the bench by Louis van Gaal, and now Neville has suggested that his long-term future at the club could be in doubt.
The Sky Sports pundit said: “He has done well, Mata, when he has played in central areas and his goalscoring record is good.
“But I always wondered whether he has a long-term future at United.
“When I watch him at Old Trafford, he isn’t dynamic enough and with Angel Di Maria in the team, they have to get Radamel Falcao in.”
United attacking options
United have an array of talent in their forward line, with the likes of Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie, Angel di Maria, Radamel Falcao and Adnan Januzaj all competing with Mata for a place in the starting XI.
Yesterday, Falcao started for the first time in a United shirt and he partnered Van Persie in attack, whilst Rooney starred in the No.10 role. United played a diamond in the midfield department, with Ander Herrera, Daley Blind and Di Maria making up the midfield.
Mata, then, despite being in fine goalscoring form, was only handed a 14 minute cameo at the end of the game. The Spaniard moved to Old Trafford after he was out of favour at his previous club, Chelsea, under Jose Mourinho, but it remains to be seen as to whether he will struggle for opportunities throughout the course of the season at United.
Manchester United fans will certainly be hoping for a better performance against West Ham at the Theatre of Dreams this weekend after yesterday's shambles. Mata, then, could be recalled to the starting XI to take on the Hammers, but United fans will be more concerned by their defensive options.
After shipping five goals at the King Power, Van Gaal will certainly be hoping for an improvement this weekend, but is set to be without Tyler Blackett and Jonny Evans through injury and suspension. Phil Jones, meanwhile, is still out of action, so Van Gaal will have a major dilemma ahead of the game.