JUAN MATA fears he worsened his hamstring injury by chasing Mohamed Salah in Manchester United’s draw with Liverpool.
The Spanish star, 30, revealed he felt his injury just minutes into the stalemate before exacerbating it by chasing speedy Salah – as he was subbed off in the first half.
Mata – visibly struggling – ran nearly the full length of the pitch to chase down the Egyptian – but ultimately did win back the ball for United in a real show of grit and determination.
The ex-Chelsea star went on to say he could scarcely believe the series of injuries suffered by his United team on the day – a derby day, at that.
Jesse Lingard – Mata’s original replacement – was also taken off in the opening 45 minutes, with Ander Herrera also subbed through injury.
In his blog, Mata wrote: “If there is a game that no United players want to miss, it is when we play Liverpool.
“Luckily, I can’t remember having faced a similar situation in a game and that is after more than 12 years as a professional.
“It is the first time that a muscular injury has forced me off during a match.
“It was a shame, and on top of that it wasn’t the only injury – Ander and Jesse both had to go off for the same reason.
“It was incredible that all of this happened in just the first half.”
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Mata went on to say he can pinpoint the exact moment he exacerbated the injury – while in hot pursuit of speedy Salah.
The Spaniard added: “In terms of my own injury problem, I could feel something for a few minutes.
“I hope that I didn’t make it worse when racing to stop Salah on the counter at attack (I had to do it!).
“I’m hoping it isn’t anything serious. I will do everything that I can to get back as soon as possible.”
Mata also had his say on the game itself, saying: “I’m disappointed to not have been able to finish the game.
“But I’m proud of the bravery and strength that my teammates showed as they gave everything on the pitch to take a point that looked incredibly hard to secure at the end of the first half.
“Everything possible seemed to happen to us.
“Thank you so much for all of your support and for all of the messages that have wished me a speedy recovery.
“I hope you all have a great week.”