Manchester United midfield veteran Darren Fletcher has insisted that the "fantastic" Juan Mata has the all attributes of a top-class playmaker, who should maintain a central position that worked to such devastating effect against Newcastle United last weekend.
Mata started in an advanced central area for the first time since sealing a £37.1m move to United from Chelsea against the Magpies and instantly justified that move, scoring an impressive brace and pulling the strings throughout in his favoured playmaker position.
Fletcher believes that Mata operates best in the number 10 role that made him such a firm favourite with Chelsea fans, declaring that he expects the Spanish schemer to go from strength to strength if given the freedom to play higher up and pitch and make an impact where it matters most.
When pressed about his new United team-mate Fletcher told the Daily Star: "Juan's a classic No.10, controlling games with an eye for the killer pass or he can slow it down with two or three touches and take the pace out of the game.
"He gives you a bit of everything - composure, intelligence, assists and goals.He's getting better and better so it's a mouthwatering prospect for next season when we'll be looking to push on.
"And if can produce the form he showed against Newcastle, then we can really get back to challenging for the title again."
Saturday's double gave United fans a glimpse of the quality Mata is capable of delivering, although that class will not be available to Red Devils boss David Moyes for this week's crunch Champions League decider against Bayern Munich.
In the longer term Moyes faces a conundrum to find a system which benefits midfield stars in Mata, Kagawa and the more natural goal threat of Wayne Rooney, with all three stars preferring to operate through the middle.
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