Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata has expressed dissatisfaction with his lack of playing time at the club
The Spaniard has made just seven appearances this season, and 292 minutes of Premier League action, amid fierce competition for places in midfield.
Mata has admitted that it’s not easy to be on the bench and not play games.
“I try to stay strong in my head, to train as best I can, to be physically and mentally ready every time someone picks me,” Mata said.
“Even if, of course, it’s not always easy to be that way when you don’t play every game.”
The 32-year-old playmaker also revealed how he has been able to keep himself happy at the club despite his lack of opportunities.
He said: “When I was 15, I left Oviedo/Asturias, the city where I grew up, to join the Real Madrid training centre.
“At that age, when you are away from your parents and friends, you grow up faster.
“I found myself competing with very talented young people and I didn’t know if I was at their level. I was a little terrified.
“And then, suddenly, I was aware of my qualities, but also of my ability to progress. Since then, every time I face competition, I see it as an opportunity to improve myself.”