Debut Reception Excites Mata as Van Persie Scores on Return.

Manchester United record-signing, Juan Mata, relishes the experience of playing in front of the Old Trafford fans for the first time, after helping the Premier League champions beat Cardiff City 2-0.

The 25-year-old Spaniard stood out for his new team early on in a promising debut, while playing right across the attacking third.

Albeit, missed two honourable chances to open his goal-scoring account, his capability to quickly link well with the rest of the squad, earned him a standing ovation on departing the pitch for teenager Adnan Januzaj in the 85th minute.

Juan Mata Created United's Opening Goal in the 2-0 Win Over Cardiff City.
Juan Mata Created United’s Opening Goal in the 2-0 Win Over Cardiff City.

“The win was very important for the team,” Mata told BBC Sport. “It was very exciting for me. The fans are unbelievable. The lads welcomed me very well. I think it was a good game.

“I am looking forward to improve. We will try until the end (to finish I the Champions League places). We will never give up.”

The £37.1m signing from Chelsea created the opener for the returning Robin van Persie, dragging the ball out to the left from a deep position before Antonio Valencia headed Ashley Young’s cross onto the bar, only for the Dutchman to score from close range at the second attempt.

Young completed scoring for the ‘Red Devils’ when his surprise shot from 25-yard went straight into the net after the break.

Rooney came on for Van Persie for his first action since New Year Day following a groin injury and his lob almost brought a third goal.

Cardiff goalkeeper David Marshall turned onto the post an Antonio Valencia strike late on as the visitors finished off an impressive day against the well-contained Welsh outfit.

Manager David Moyes believe the encouraging victory signifies the dividends of his January transfer dealings while also drawing credit for the returning attacking duo.

“We kept a clean sheet, scored a couple of goals, got a couple of players back from injury and gave Juan Mata his debut,” said Moyes.

“He (Mata) gave us a bit more craft. He did well. We know how much of a good player he is.

“Getting Robin van Persie and Wayne Rooney back made a big difference.”

It was, after all, a descent night for the champions, who kept Europe hopes alive, sitting seventh; six points adrift fourth-placed Liverpool.