Juan Mata has accepted responsibility for his red card in Manchester United’s 1-0 Premier League defeat at West Brom, but feels the decisions made by referee Mike Dean to book him twice in the space of three minutes were “rigorous”.
United were forced to play for more than an hour with 10 men at The Hawthorns on Sunday and could find no response to Salomon Rondon’s 66th-minute strike, as their top-four aspirations suffered a blow.
Mata had not been dismissed previously in almost 500 matches as a professional and he attempted to absorb the blow in his weekly blog for Kicca.
“The truth is this is a new and strange situation for me, not easy to assimilate, but we learn from everything,” he wrote.
“I know that, in football, we see things like these every week, but obviously what hurts more is that my team-mates had to fight with 10 men for a long time.
“I have the feeling that both decisions were rigorous; that, in many occasions, we see more serious fouls that are not penalised in such a way, but at the same time I could have avoided them and I take responsibility.
“It also leaves me with a bad taste for the supporters who travelled to the stadium and for those who were watching the game from home, but I must carry on as always and from now on I’m already focused on the next game, the derby against Liverpool in the Europa League.”
United lie sixth in the Premier League, three points behind Manchester City in fourth and their rivals will play game in hand at Norwich City next weekend before Louis van Gaal’s men return to league action in the Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium on March 20.
Mata added: “The team was in a good shape. I hope this blot won’t make us forget that we were on the right track and that we have to keep believing in ourselves to achieve the goals that are still in our minds from now until the end of the season.”