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Juan Mata Says Senior Players Must Help Manchester United’s Youngsters More | Bleacher Report

Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images

Juan Mata has said Manchester United‘s senior players must do everything to help Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s young talent. 

The Red Devils have allowed experienced squad members to leave, triggering increased playing time for United’s burgeoning youth.

Speaking to Sky Sports (h/t Liam Prenderville of the Mirror), Mata said the senior professionals at Old Trafford have a duty to help emerging individuals at Carrington:

“We have young players coming through and sometimes I see myself in them.

“I remember when I was at Valencia at 18 or 19 years old, I had some difficult moments because I didn’t play a lot in the beginning but I had some older players helping me.

“That’s what I think experienced players have to do with young players.

“They have, hopefully, many years to grow as a player and many games to enjoy their football at this club and we as older players we are here to help them.”

Michel Euler/Associated Press

The departures of Romelu Lukaku, Ander Herrera and Marouane Fellaini has impacted the versatility of Solskjaer’s squad, and loan moves for Alexis Sanchez and Chris Smalling have further decreased United’s options.

United have struggled in front of goal this season after an injury to Anthony Martial and a lack of form for Marcus Rashford. Mason Greenwood has been used sparingly due to his young age, but the 18-year-old promises to be an outstanding finisher.

Axel Tuanzebe, Angel Gomes and Tahith Chong have stepped up to become regular members of the matchday squad, and promising 19-year-old full-back Brandon Williams recently made his first start in the goalless draw against AZ Alkmaar in UEFA Europa League.

United have rapidly slipped to 12th in the Premier League after beating Chelsea 4-0 on the opening day, and Solskjaer must quickly stop the rot, with the club only two points above the relegation zone.

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 06: Marcus Rashford of Manchester United reacts during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Manchester United at St. James Park on October 6, 2019 in Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom. (Photo by Ro

Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images

Mata added the improvement of other teams has contributed to the challenges facing the Red Devils:

“I think every club is improving and clubs like Leicester are recruiting really well and they have very good players that can take them to a different level.

“Football is more difficult now because every club is growing a lot so it’s more competitive and every club is able to sign good players. So you have to be better every single season to try and reach your aims.”

Solskjaer needs time to restructure the United squad, but if he cannot find a way to win, it’s unlikely his tenure will extend into the next campaign.

The Norwegian’s side played with freedom and purpose during the opening weeks of his interim spell in charge last December, but performances and results have slowly eroded into disappointment for supporters.

United face Liverpool on October 20 in their next Premier League match, and a home defeat against the leaders will heap more pressure on Solskjaer and his stuttering squad.

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