Louis van Gaal’s Manchester United side suffered yet another defeat, this time at the hands of West Brom.
A revived yet fatigued Manchester United displayed a poor performance at the Hawthorns, and eventually suffered a 1-0 defeat, thanks to a 66th minute goal from Salomon Rondon. However, the turning point of the game came midway in the first half, when United’s Juan Mata got sent off in the 26th minute.
Mata picked up 2 yellow cards in the space of 158 seconds – the first for blocking a quick free-kick, and the second for a foul on the former United man Darren Fletcher.
The Spanish midfielder then took to his blog to apologise to the Manchester United fans, stating that he has taken full responsibility for the two yellow cards, which he still believes were a bit ‘rigorous’.
He wrote: “After almost 500 games as a professional player, this Sunday I was sent off for the first time in my career. As you can imagine, it’s not easy for me to write these lines.
“The truth is this is a new and strange situation for me, not easy to assimilate, but we learn from everything. I know that, in football, we see things like this every week, but obviously what hurts more is that my team-mates had to fight with ten men for a long time.
“I have the feeling that both decisions were rigorous; that, in many occasions, we see more serious fouls that are not penalised in such a way, but at the same time I could have avoided them and I take responsibility. It also leaves me with a bad taste for the supporters who travelled to the stadium, and for those who were watching the game from home.
“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.
“In this sport there’s no time for celebrations or moaning, and after last Wednesday’s joy for the win and the goal against Watford, now I have to go through a more bitter experience. That’s the way it is. What matters is to move forward and to always learn from each situation. And so I will.”
Manager Louis van Gaal has also voiced his opinion on Mata’s sending off, by labeling Mata’s actions for first booking as “stupid,” but also stating that the referee should have shown more leniency when booking Mata the second time.
“The referee has to know the person who makes the tackle,” said van Gaal. “Mata never hurts an opponent.”