Pundits Jamie Carragher and Paul Scholes have slammed Manchester United for the decision to make Juan Mata captain against Liverpool in the Europa League on Thursday night.
Louis van Gaal’s side put in a poor performance and were duly beaten 2-0 at Anfield by their bitter rivals, giving the Red Devils a tough task of qualifying for the next round.
With Wayne Rooney on the sidelines with injury, the Dutch manager opted to select Mata as his captain for the clash – something that has been questioned in the media.
Carragher stated that the Spanish midfielder was not always guaranteed a place in the United team and as such the reasoning behind making him skipper was odd.
“Another thing I couldn’t believe was the captain,” the former Liverpool defender is quoted as saying in The Daily Star.
“Juan Mata? I’m not criticising him — I like him, he gets a few goals and assists. But, if everyone is fit, does he even get in the team?”
Scholes concurred with Carragher’s thoughts and stated that defender Chris Smalling would have been a more wise choice.
“That is exactly what I said: how is Juan Mata captain?” the former Red Devils midfielder added.
“He’s a good player and he’s had a good month. But to be captain of Manchester United?
“I don’t think there are many real leaders in there. Chris Smalling? The goalkeeper?”
United are going through a tumultuous campaign and elimination from the Europa League at the hands of Liverpool could well be the final straw and see Van Gaal lose the backing of the club.