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Richard Jolly profile picture Posted by Richard Jolly
Mar 10, 2014

Mata prefers central United role

Juan Mata has insisted that he is not a winger and wants to operate as a No. 10 -- even though David Moyes keeps on playing him out wide.

• Okwonga: Moyes breathes easy

Manchester United’s record signing has made six appearances for the club since completing his 37.1 million pound move from Chelsea in January.

But although his debut came in a central role just behind main striker Robin van Persie, his last five games have all come on the flanks.

And Mata told BT Sport: “I love to play between the lines. Right now I am playing on the right but to honest I don’t see myself as a proper winger. I like to play between the lines as a No. 10.

“[When I] come inside, that is where I feel comfortable  to play, to keep in touch with the ball because I love to play in possession and with the ball.”

Mata generally operated as No. 10 last season, when he was named Chelsea’s Player of the Year, although he lost that position to Oscar this season before moving to United.

But the presence of star forwards Van Persie and Wayne Rooney means manager Moyes has not selected him in the middle since his bow against Cardiff.

And Mata added: “When we talk about them, we are talking about two of the best strikers in the world, Wayne one of the best for sure in the history of England and Robin as well is the captain of Holland so it is an honour for me to try and assist them because almost every chance you create is a goal.”

Mata said the size of United means that he is playing under a pressure he welcomes.

He explained: “When you see this club [from the] outside as a massive club, an enormous club and when you are in and you can feel everything that is happening inside, the repercussions around the world and the amount of fans.

"They expect you to win every game but it is good to have that pressure because that means you are playing at the highest level.”

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