Juan Mata says controversial free-kick in Man Utd’s win over Shrewsbury was copied from European rivals Midtjylland, who beat the Reds recently
Shrewsbury: Juan Mata has revealed his latest free-kick routine was inspired by Manchester United's Europa League rivals. The midfielder scored in Monday’s 3-0 FA Cup win against Shrewsbury as United booked a quarter-final tie with West Ham.
Three of his teammates ran towards him from apparently offside positions with goalkeeper Jayson Leutwiler distracted to allow Mata to curl in from 20 yards. And Mata revealed United took the idea from FC Midtjylland, who they play in the Europa League on Thursday when the Red Devils must try to turn around a 2-1 first-leg deficit.
Manchester United’s midfielder Juan Mata celebrates after scoring a goal from a free-fick during their FA Cup match against Shrewsbury Town in Shrewsbury, England on Monday night. Pic/AFP
"We did it in Denmark, we tried it because it was something Midtjylland did," said Mata. "It was the referees’ decision and they said it was not offside because they said as soon as I kicked the ball they come to be level with the defenders. In this match it was good because I think the goalkeeper reacted late to the ball and he couldn’t save it."
United have not won the FA Cup since 2004 but Mata felt its a special tournament. "I think it’s a very special competition to play in," Mata told MUTV. "There is a lot of history and many difficult games against sides like this and we did well from the beginning and that was key.
"We didn’t let them come on to us and create chances from the start and that was good. The most important thing in these types of games is the attitude and if you are ready for the battle, you mostly win and we did that."