Juan Mata says it was not an easy decision to sign a new Manchester United contract.

Speaking to the club website Mata says he did receive enquiries from other clubs as his contract winded down. Mata did not get into specifics of which clubs made contact.

The Spaniard said that eventually his love for United won over, also adding that he did not want to bow out on a low note.

RB Leipzig v Manchester United: Group H - UEFA Champions League
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Mata said he found the 2020/21 season a particularly difficult one, and says he still feels he can contribute.

He said: “I was a free agent at the end of my contract and, as is normal in the football world, you receive some calls from different clubs and think about maybe potential new stages in your career but, on the other hand, the feeling of being at this club and especially because of how last season went, probably the most difficult season in my life, it didn’t feel natural to me to leave that way.”

“I’m staying because I still believe I can give so much to the team and I think the club believes the same. I’m very, very hopeful and excited to still win trophies here.”

Tough campaign

Mata started only six Premier League games and appeared a further three times from the bench.

 

He was overlooked several times, an unused substitute 25 occasions in all competitions.

But there were off-field matters which made the 2020/21 season especially tough for Mata. His mother died earlier in 2021 and he spent a few weeks in Spain with her beforehand.

After returning to the team at the end of the season, Mata ended up on the losing side as United lost to Villarreal in the Europa League final on penalties. That will have been particularly tough to take for him.

Mata will be hoping this year United can avoid making it five years without silverware. His experience can be a factor in helping United get over the line, but United will have to use him a little more and spread the playing load.

The veteran is expected to return to pre-season shortly. He was not pictured in the initial group of players back on Monday, although no explanation for his absence was given.

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