Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is “never surprised” to see Juan Mata take control of matches after the midfielder scored one and set up another in Manchester United’s 3-0 EFL Cup victory over Brighton and Hove Albion.
Mata picked out Scott McTominay from a free-kick for United’s opener in Wednesday’s last-16 tie before profiting from a brilliant Donny van de Beek assist to bring up his 50th goal for the club.
The 32-year-old also scored in the third-round win over Luton Town and has now been directly involved in 13 goals in his last 15 starts for United.
He has not been part of Solskjaer’s squad for the opening two rounds of Premier League fixtures, but the United head coach is happy with the Spaniard’s latest contribution in the cup competitions.
“It was a great performance by Juan Mata,” Solskjaer told Sky Sports. “He was the one who got on the ball and calmed us down. He was composed.
“He more or less creates the first goal himself. I am never surprised when he plays like this.
“He has been around the block and knows football. He does his work and is at the back stick to shield the ball from Dan Burn at a corner in the second half.”