Juan Mata was the match-winner as Manchester United defeated arch-rivals Liverpool on their own patch last weekend.
The Spanish sensation scored a brace, including a stunning overhead kick, to fire the Red Devils five points clear of Brendan Rodgers’ men. But after his heroics, both he and teammate Ander Herrera have a week off.
The Spanish national side, with all their strength in depth, opted against calling up either player, which means they get plenty of recovery time to get themselves ready for United’s tough run-in.
Since Louis van Gaal switched United’s formation to a more conventional 4-3-3 system, Mata and Herrera have flourished on the right-hand side. Their understanding together is there for all to see.
Mata operates as a right winger with licence to roam inside with Herrera fielded slightly to the right in central midfield.
Their link-up play is fantastic as they play neat, intricate passes to each other as United choose to have prolonged spells of possession in order to frustrate the opposition.
It is a style of play which both players were brought up on.
To add to their ability to control the tempo, they are both capable of penetrating a defence at any moment. They are thriving on being given the freedom to show off their obvious technical abilities.
Mata’s second goal was the highlight of the Liverpool win but the first goal showed off what a fine understanding the deadly Spanish duo have together. Herrera's through ball was latched onto by his partner in crime, who finished into the far corner with aplomb.
United will be hoping that they can continue to torment together when the international period ends with both refreshed after their breaks.
It says much about Spain’s qualities that they can afford to leave out two talents such as Mata and Herrera but United will not be complaining.