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Valencia great Fernando exclusive: Man Utd ace Mata surpassed my expectations

Valencia great Fernando Gomez has hailed the impact Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata has made during his career.

Fernando, who played over 450 games for Los Che, was sporting director of Valencia when Mata was coming through at the club. The midfielder spent four years with Valencia, after being snapped up from Real Madrid, before moving to England and Chelsea in 2011.

Now 32, Mata would later join United three years later, where he has become a firm favourite with the Old Trafford support. With United, Mata currently sits on 249 games in all competitions - and 48 goals.

For Fernando, he admits the midfielder has surpassed the expectations he had when first seeing him come through at Valencia. But he also says the impact Mata has made in England has reached Spain and Valencia, where he remains highly regarded.

Comparing Mata with another former VCF star, Manchester City midfielder David Silva, Fernando told Tribalfootball.com: "Mata is another similar case, not quite as talented as Silva, but similar. In my opinion, he has responded at United better than I expected.

"He doesn't have as much spark as Silva, but he is very intelligent and has a refined technique and a clear vision of the game.

"He has developed another great career in Manchester, and that makes him very much appreciated here."

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Paul Vegas

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