Louis van Gaal has said his decision to withdraw Juan Mata at half-time against Everton was for 'tactical reasons'.
The in-form Spaniard struggled to stamp his authority on the game despite Manchester United holding a commanding 2-0 lead and was replaced by Jesse Lingard.
Mata was given a tough time by young Toffee's full-back Brendan Galloway at Goodison, and Van Gaal said he was 'very happy' with the impact Lingard had once introduced.
BECOME A WRITER
Do you have what it takes? Sign up today and send your 250-word test article: https://gms.to/haveyoursay3
As per the Manchester Evening News, the Dutch boss said: “That was tactical and I was very happy, I have congratulated him (Lingard) with a good performance in the second half.
"He didn’t lose any balls, one pass to Wayne Rooney maybe, but that is the only pass I can remember, and he did his defensive work very well so I am very pleased with his performance."
Mata has been in fine form for the Old Trafford club this season and was voted United's Player of the Month for September after producing three goals and as many assists.
However, it proved to be a tough afternoon for the former Chelsea man, despite the Red Devils cantering to a 3-0 win.
Tenacious England youth international, Galloway, provided another example as to why United are reportedly keen on his signature.
Footballers can't always be perfect - unless you're Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo - and below-par days are to be expected.
But one thing is for sure, the Spaniard will bounce back from this performance and will likely be in the starting line-up once again when Van Gaal and his men play CSKA Moscow in midweek.
Is Juan Mata Manchester United's best player? Let us know your opinion by leaving a comment below!