Juan Mata hopes Manchester United fans support David De Gea after his long-expected move to Real Madrid collapsed on Spanish transfer deadline day on Monday (31 August), after the necessary paperwork did not arrive at La Liga headquarters on time. The Spanish goalkeeper wanted to leave Old Trafford to return to his homeland, but will now need to stay at the Premier League giants until at least the end of the season when his contract with the club expires.
Recent reports claimed that Louis van Gaal is expected to hand De Gea a chance to fight with Sergio Romero for the number one role, despite leaving the Spaniard out of his squad for the first four matches of the Premier League campaign due to speculation over the move to the Bernabeu. United, meanwhile, said in an official statement on 1 September that the club was delighted to have kept a "fan-favourite double Player of the Year" in the squad.
Mata has now backed his compatriot to move on from the disappointment while also hoping the United fans support him during the new season. "David is professional and he always will be," he told Spanish paper AS. "His desire and professionalism will remain intact. Any team in the world would be better off with him in it. The fans always support the team, all of us, and they will support him."
"He seems the same as ever to me. He's calm, relaxed. He has a naturally calm personality. These have been difficult days but he is ok. It is good for him to be here with the national team too. I think his personality will help. He is always calm. Even in moments of maximum pressure or stress he still plays well. His personality will help him on and off the pitch. He is a friend and he is very professional. I wish him the best and I am sure he will be fine. He will manage the situation."
Meanwhile, the United playmaker expressed his delight at returning to the Spain squad for the first time since the World Cup ahead of the European Championship qualifiers against Slovakia on 5 September and Macedonia three days later.
Meanwhile, Spain boss Vicente Del Bosque has urged De Gea to take the setback on the chin and move on to regain his number one spot at Old Trafford. The national team manager said on Tuesday the United keeper will need to play for his club should he want to keep his spot in the Spain squad. But in a subsequent interview with Onda Cero, he was more coy, saying: "I don't want to say in a drastic fashion what we'll do.
"We need to wait to see how things turn out and the main thing is that David reacts, knows what's happened, and he needs to look ahead and be a good professional. He's suffered something he never expected and he never thought it would be like this, but he needs to look ahead and be a professional. It's to be hoped David de Gea can play for Manchester and have an active role and we can include him in future call-ups and he can show what a good keeper he is."