Solskjaer explains why he had to give contract to veteran midfielder

Photo: PA

Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata was temporarily a free agent when his previous deal ran out last month before he signed a new deal with the Red Devils until 2022.

Mata didn’t have much playing time last season and it was reported that he was set for a return to Spain.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has now revealed why he gave a contract extension to Mata and also veteran goalkeeper Lee Grant.

Solskjaer said: “We are a young squad and [extending older players’ contracts] been part of the thinking. We have the professionals that can be an example day in and day out.

“Our young lads think they know it because we bring the up through the academy and they do learn good habits. But then they come into the first team and see World Cup winners like Juan and the way he conducts himself, even if he doesn’t play.

“He didn’t play as much as he would have liked to last year but he’s never ever letting himself or his team down with his attitude. So they are good examples and Lee, as well, knows he’s got good goalkeepers ahead of him but the example he sets is something we have to reward them for and it makes the group better, and they’re still good players.”