Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has revealed the reason for not playing midfielder Juan Mata in his preferred number 10 role in the first two games of the 2015/16 Premier League season.
The Dutch manager has opted to play the Spanish international on the right wing in both the matches against Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa, with Adnan Januzaj and at times Memphis Depay occupying the space behind Wayne Rooney, who has been entrusted with the central strikers' role.
Mata is primarily an attacking midfielder, who likes to play through the middle just behind the centre forward, but has been deployed in the wide positions at United. The former Chelsea star had his best season in English football when he was playing through the mid-field during the 2012/13 campaign and managed to score 20 goals in 64 games in all competitions.
However, Van Gaal has indicated that it will not be the case at Old Trafford, he believes that a regular goalscorer should play in the role behind the main striker and not in the midfield position.
"I want a second striker more than a midfielder in the No.10 position. That is why Adnan (Januzaj) got his chance and he scored. What more does a trainer or manager want?" Van Gaal said, as quoted by the Mirror.
The Dutchman is keen to strengthen his defence this summer and was heavily linked with a move for Sergio Ramos according to Spanish publication AS, but the defender has back tracked and signed a new five-year deal with Real Madrid.
Despite the snub, the former Bayern Munich and Barcelona manager also praised his defence after they managed to keep clean sheets in their first two Premier League games.
"I'm always saying to my goalkeepers and defenders to keep a zero. That gives us a lot of confidence. Our defence starts with our strikers so it is a team effort. I'm very happy that now we have a lot of clean sheets," Van Gaal added.