London: Manchester United's Spanish midfielder Juan Mata has said his maiden send-off after nearly 500 matches as a professional is "not easy to assimilate."
The player was sent off for receiving two yellow cards in the first half of the 0-1 loss against West Bromwich at the Hathorns stadium on Sunday, taking a step back in the fight for qualifying positions for the next Champions League.
Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata walks from the field after receiving his second yellow card of the game against West Bromwich Albion. Pic/ AFP
The player, 27, reflecting on the situation on his website on Monday, admitted that seeing a red card is a "new and strange situation" for him "but we learn from everything", reports Efe.
"I know that in football we see things like these every week, but obviously what hurts more is that my teammates had to fight with ten men for a long time," Mata said.
"I have the feeling that both decisions were rigorous and that on many occasions we see more serious fouls that are not penalised in such a way," he added, recognising however that he "could have avoided them."
"I must carry on as always and from now on I'm already focused on the next game, the derby against Liverpool in the Europa League," stressed the Spaniard, adding that "in this sport there's no time for celebrations or moaning."