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Juan Mata says he and Bruno Fernandes "understand football in the same way"

Bruno Fernandes

Juan Mata has praised the impact made by Bruno Fernandes and Odion Ighalo early in their Manchester United careers.

The duo moved to Old Trafford in the January transfer window and have both got off to impressive starts.

Fernandes has scored three goals and provided three assists in the Premier League and Europa League, while Ighalo has found the net four times in his eight outings in all competitions.

And Mata, speaking after United's 5-0 thrashing of LASK in the Europa League on Thursday, has labelled the pair "great guys" and explained why he has particularly enjoyed linking up with Fernandes.

“It's great to have Bruno in the team, and also Odion who is scoring in almost every single game that he plays,” the Spaniard told MUTV. "They're great guys, and we're very happy now with them in the team.

"I think we [me and Fernandes] understand football in the same way. We like to play the same way, passing and moving and giving lines.

“We like playing with each other and looking for our forwards in behind like we did with Dan [James] today and with Odion, who scored a fantastic goal also.”

United's victory over LASK was played behind closed doors due to the coronavirus outbreak, which has forced the Premier League to pause until April 3 at the earliest.

And Mata has lifted the lid on what it was like to play without supporters on Thursday night.

“I don't remember playing behind closed doors before so, of course, it was a different game,” Mata added. "It feels strange. It's like training, when you play a game in training, there's no crowd and it felt a little bit the same.

"But of course, your mind is in a competitive mood and you know that it is an official game so we did what we were asked to do, which is to play in these circumstances. We need to act accordingly and trust in the experts and perform like we did today.

“I think we did really well when you look at the score and the performance. It was not easy in the beginning because LASK are a team that press a lot. 

"We didn't have our best game in terms of passing and controlling, and it wasn't easy on that pitch with this ball, but at the end of the day we scored five goals, we are happy and ready to come back to Manchester.

“I would say it was a very professional performance so, of course, winning 5-0, we can say that we had a very good first leg. But when we play at Old Trafford we will try to win the game again and play good and try to score and try to enjoy our football like we did today.”

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