Manchester United play-maker Juan Mata failed to inspire his side to a victory over Burnley on Saturday, as Louis van Gaal continued his search for a first competitive win.
Gone are the heady days of pre-season, when United fans saw a free-flowing brand of football and a new formation that prompted victories over the likes of Real Madrid, Roma and Liverpool.
Now the Old Trafford faithful are back to watching the worryingly familiar struggles that surfaced last season, with long-balls and misplaced crosses about the best their attacking players can muster as victories continue to allude them.
United will get better; there is no doubt about that. But van Gaal has already warned that it will take three months for the club to be playing as he wants them to. So in the short-term it is up to the likes of Mata to keep them in touch with the title-contenders already threatening to cast the Dutchmen's men adrift.
Against Burnley, Mata impressed in terms of passing accuracy, with a fantastic 97.44% success rate, And yet he failed to create a scoring attempt for a teammate despite touching the ball 48 times. He also only managed five forward passes and just one (off-target) scoring attempt.
|Key Pass||Total Scoring Attempt||On-target Scoring Attempt||Touches||Fwd Pass||Pass Accuracy||Mins|
The Spanish international will have to do much better if he wants to keep his place in a side desperate for creativity, especially following the arrival of British-record signing Angel Di Maria.
After the match, we took to Twitter to see what United fans made of Mata's performance, and it is fair to say the majority were not impressed.
Below you can read a selection of what we found:
MISSING: (juan mata)Last seen in the Turf Moor tunnel at 7:43am. If you have any information please call Lancashire Police— ricobambam (@ricardolewin1) August 30, 2014
Juan Mata, Van Persie, Di Maria all on one team and this still happens.— Vanessa (@nessiessss) August 30, 2014
Juan Mata has been so poor in this game.— IAmGuyanese... (@Imraaan93) August 30, 2014
Juan Mata has been awful today. He slows down attacking phases far too much and his final ball has been wildly inaccurate today. #MUFC— Lewis Hill (@Lewis95Hill) August 30, 2014
Shinji Kagawa sold with Juan Mata under performing. Could be a decision Louis Van Gaal regrets in the long run #MUFC— Red Devil Armada (@RedDevilArmada1) August 30, 2014
It's no secret that I love Juan Mata but he has been very poor today. He, Rooney and RVP, I expected a lot more from all three of them.— Jeanette (@JeanetteEliz) August 30, 2014
A lot of talk about Di Maria today but Juan Mata has been absolutely pathetic today. Dreadful, dreadful performance.— Devane (@_DeanoBeano) August 30, 2014