United midfielder Mata backs goalkeeper Valdes

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London, May 18 (IANS) Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata has backed Victor Valdes after the goalkeeper replaced the injured David de Gea to make his debut in the second half of United’s 1-1 draw with Arsenal.

De Gea is expected to leave United this summer and return to Spain with Real Madrid. But Mata is confident in Valdes’ ability should he replace the 24-year-old, believing his experience is valuable to the squad, dailymail.co.uk reported on Sunday.

Mata wished De Gea well after he was replaced with 15 minutes to go due to a leg injury but also praised the talent of former Barcelona goalkeeper Valdes.

Writing on his blog, he said: “We had more bad news when David had to leave the pitch with an injury, which allowed Víctor to make his debut as a Manchester United player.

“I hope David gets well soon and at the same time I wish Víctor the best, always. A goalkeeper like him, so good and with so much experience, is always a big help to any team.”

De Gea picked up an injury attempting to clear a cross, and as he went off United supporters applauded having earlier sung his name.

Mata insisted that United would be doing all they can to win against Hull City, who must win to avoid the drop on the final day.

Hull have Newcastle two points ahead of them in 17th and Sunderland a further point in front in 16th with a game in hand against Arsenal on Wednesday, but Mata says United will not lie down.

“Now we must finish the season in the best possible way. We owe it to this badge. Besides, we must respect the fight against relegation between Hull City, Newcastle and, maybe, Sunderland, so we will try to win, as always.”

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