Football News

Juan Mata urges Man Utd to make Daniel James the focus of their attacking play

By Harry Edwards

Published: 10:35, 2 September 2019

Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata has called on the Red Devils to make Daniel James the focus of their attacking play.

James is United’s top scorer in the Premier League this season, scoring three goals in four games after signing from Swansea City in the summer.

Daniel James at Man Utd: Five things to know…

  • Daniel James signed for Manchester United from Swansea City in the summer.
  • The 21-year-old scored on his competitive debut in United’s 4-0 win over Chelsea.
  • James has started the past three games for United, scoring two more goals.
  • The winger scored United’s only goal in their 1-1 draw with Southampton at the weekend.
  • And Juan Mata believes United should make James the focus of their attacking play.

United have endured a disappointing start to the Premier League season, following up their 4-0 rout over Chelsea on the opening weekend, with two draws and a defeat in their past three games.

In their final game before the international break, United were held by Southampton at St Mary’s despite the hosts going down to 10 men with 15 minutes to go.

James opened the scoring for United and Mata, who also started on the South Coast, hailed the 21-year-old for his goal.

“[It was a] very good goal, a fantastic finish. He’s a very hard-working player,” he told MUTV.

“He gave us a lot on the wing and even in the second half when everyone was a bit tired, he was still sprinting and giving very dangerous crosses.

“[I’m] very happy for him and hopefully he can do it many more times.”

Mata also went on to urge the Manchester United coaching staff to focus the Red Devils’ style of play around James, given the pace the Welsh international brings to the side.

“Football is easier right, if you are that quick? He takes advantage of that,” he added.

“He goes one against one and it’s very difficult for a defender to take the ball off him. We need to use him even more.”

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Solskjaer: James setting an example

Mata is not the only person at United to hail James for the early work he has put in since joining.

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer also recently praised James for the impact he has made so far, labelling him an example to everyone.

“He’s come in and made an impact ever since day one in training – [today] he made a recovery run, won the ball, went forward,” he told reporters.

“I think he’s an example for everyone. He’s our top scorer, and that comes from his personality, his habits. He’s humble, he works hard and he knows he can improve.

“He knows he could have scored a few more [against Southampton] and we’ll work with him to get his quality even higher. Then we’ll have a top, top player.”