As soon as Jose Mourinho announced his team selection for Manchester United's Premier League opener against Bournemouth, all of the talk was about Juan Mata's inclusion.
Mata was subbed off less than half an hour after coming on in the Community Shield and unsurprisingly, fans and pundits alike took that to mean it was the beginning of the end for the Spaniard at Old Trafford.
But Mourinho shocked everyone by naming him in the starting XI on Sunday and the 28-year-old certainly repaid his manager's faith.
Article continues below
United had struggled to make too many inroads in Bournemouth's defence before Mata capitalised on a short back pass from Simon Francis to be unleashed on goal in the 39th minute.
His first strike was saved by Artur Boruc in the Cherries net but fortuitously found the ball back at his feet to stab home at the second attempt.
United's travelling support had little else to cheer about during a dull opening 45 minutes, however, Mata's goal certainly went some way to justifying Mourinho's selection over new signing Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
The Spaniard's future has been in doubt since Mourinho was appointed but it looks like the United fan favourite has earned himself a reprieve - for the time being anyway.