It would be seriously tough for any human being - let alone football fan - to dislike Juan Mata.
The Spaniard comes across as a genuinely lovely guy.
However, his popularity amongst Manchester United fans dipped on Thursday night after his half-hearted challenged allowed Paul Onuachu to score Midtjylland’s second goal in their shock 2-1 Europa League victory over the Red Devils.
SUBMIT AN ARTICLE
Apply to become a GMS writer by signing up and submitting a 250-word test article: http://gms.to/haveyoursay5
Mata had the chance to nick the ball off the Nigerian forward but failed to commit to the challenge; seconds later the ball was in the back of the net.
Manchester United fans on Twitter were fuming with the former Chelsea star’s apparent lack of commitment, branding him a “coward” and much worse.
United fans blast Juan Mata on Twitter
Mata has flattered to deceive this season
While Mata always says the right things off the pitch - particularly in his weekly blog - United fans are fed up with the 27-year-old failing to do the business on it.
The Old Trafford faithful initially thought Jose Mourinho was crazy when he allowed Mata to join the Red Devils for £37.1 million in January 2014 - after all, this was the player who had been named as Chelsea’s Player of the Year in two consecutive seasons.
However, there are now many United fans who wouldn’t be disappointed to see the back of the World Cup winner this summer.
He’s not the only player they’re immensely frustrated with, though. United fans are sick and tired of most of the squad and especially the manager, Louis van Gaal, who is still clinging to his job.
Thursday night was a new low for Man Utd
Thursday night’s defeat in Denmark was arguably the nadir of the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era so far.
Worse than the 4-0 defeat in last season’s Capital One Cup final to MK Dons, and worse than the 2-0 Champions League defeat to Olympiakos in Piraeus under David Moyes.
Not just because of the result but mainly because of the lacklustre performance.
Rarely has a Manchester United team been so completely devoid of quality and leadership.
Senior pros must step up
In order to salvage something from their season - presuming Van Gaal will have until the end of the season - United’s first-team stars, the experienced ones like Mata, have to stand up to be counted over the next three months.
Failure to do so and there’s a real chance that Manchester United will fail to qualify for next season’s Europa League - never mind the Champions League.
Manchester United fans: would you sell Juan Mata this summer? Let us know by leaving a comment below.