Quick links

Manchester United

Carragher: Mata reminds me of Berbatov at Man United

The Liverpool legend sees similarities between Juan Mata and Dimitar Berbatov.

They both cost Manchester United over £30 million; they both moved to Manchester from London; they both prefer to stay in their opponents' halves; and they both are damn charismatic.

Do you see the resemblance? Jamie Carragher certainly does - and the former Liverpool defender makes a good case of comparing them.

Spaniard Mata, who moved to Old Trafford from Chelsea for £37.1m in January, has already come in for some criticism since joining Man United, especially after David Moyes' decision to play him down the left wing.

That may now change with Robin van Persie's injury - but the 25-year-old has suffered a frustrating few weeks nevertheless.

And Carragher thinks it is Mata's lack of speed or stamina that might hinder him at United, just like it did with Berbatov, who endured a hit-and-miss four years at the club.

"Mata reminds me of Dimitar Berbatov," the 36-year-old wrote in the Daily Mail.

"He was brilliant for Tottenham and he looked every inch a Manchester United player before he signed. But White Hart Lane has a smaller pitch than Old Trafford and Berbatov didn’t have the speed to get around it.

"Similarly, Mata stood out at Stamford Bridge, which is also tight. There is no doubt he has talent but does Mata have the legs for Old Trafford’s wide open spaces?"

It's definitely an interesting claim...

Mata's Man United career looked to have started off well enough, with the 25-year-old registering an assist in every one of his opening three games for Moyes' side. However, the Spaniard has gone four games without an assist since - and is yet to get off the mark in terms of goals at Old Trafford.

Might Carragher's theory, then, have some validity?

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch