EPL Results: Juan Mata 'Grateful' for 'Special Day' After Helping Manchester United to Victory on Debut

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By Deepak Vikraman | January 29, 2014 4:53 PM EST

Manchester United debutant Juan Mata looks on as Robin Van Persie celebrates his goal against Cardiff in the English Premier League, 28 January. Reuters
Manchester United debutant Juan Mata looks on as Robin Van Persie celebrates his goal against Cardiff in the English Premier League, 28 January. Reuters

Juan Mata could not have been more pleased after making a sparkling debut to help Manchester United to a comfortable 2-0 win over Cardiff City in the English Premier League.

Goals from Robin Van Persie and Ashley Young were enough for United to pick up a much-needed victory in the Premier League, with the mood around the club lifted considerably following the club record £37.1 million capture of Mata from Chelsea late last week.

Mata was expectedly the cynosure after being named in the starting lineup on Tuesday night, and the Spaniard did not disappoint, playing a big hand in United's first goal which was slotted in at the second time of asking by Van Persie, who also made a long-awaited comeback from injury.

"I'm so grateful. From the first minute, from the warm-up they [the fans] have been amazing for me," Mata told MUTV. "I will just try to give this confidence back on the pitch.

"It was a very special day for me. My first game -- my debut -- with a victory. It was perfect. I enjoyed it a lot.

"What I love the most is to play. So these minutes [on the pitch] for me are very important. Now I'm going to train and I'm looking forward to playing at the weekend and trying to do my best for the team."

Despite not getting much game time at Chelsea under Jose Mourinho, Mata played out 85 minutes of the Cardiff win, and was especially pleased to have linked up reasonably well with premier strike duo Van Persie and Wayne Rooney, with the latter coming on for the Dutchman just after the hour mark.

"Robin's early goal shows how good he is," Mata added. "And Wayne as well... we are talking about two of the best strikers in the world. It's going to be amazing to play alongside them.

"I think it will take time but the most important thing is to improve our confidence by winning. Our next game [at Stoke on Saturday] is again like a final for us and we'll try to get the three points again and try to climb the table.

"I'm looking forward to playing at the weekend and trying to do my best for the team."

United manager David Moyes was also purring after seeing his new signing take to his latest club quite well at the first time of asking. "I thought Juan played very well," Moyes said. "He made some terrific passes for us, got us on the ball, gave us a different look at times and he will grow.

"We will get used to him more as well. I was a bit worried about his overall match fitness but when we got to 2-0, I thought the longer we keep him on the better and we will hopefully get him up to speed quickly.

"He was close to making us a couple of goals in the early part of the game with his passing and I think everybody knows what he is capable of. I think when we are in full flow, when we are playing as well as we can then I think he will be a big help for us all."

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Manchester United debutant Juan Mata looks on as Robin Van Persie celebrates his goal against Cardiff in the English Premier League, 28 January. Reuters
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