Manchester United midfield generalissimo, Juan Mata has tipped Nigerian striker Odion Ighalo to score an avalanche of goals during his loan spell with the Red Devils.
Ighalo, who completed a six-month loan deal to Old Trafford from Shanghai Shenhua on the January transfer deadline day, has yet to score his first goal for his new club.
Ahead of today’s Europa League reverse fixture at Old Trafford, Ighalo have recorded a cumulative 34 minutes of playing time in three appearances after coming as late substitutes in two English Premier League matches against Chelsea and Watford as well as against Club Brugge in last week’s Europa league first leg match.
But the Spanish FIFA World Cup and European Championship winner is optimistic that Ighalo, the 2019 AFCON top scorer will soon be firing on all cylinders based on his pedigree and previous experience of playing in the EPL.
“Odion has experience of playing in the Premier League and hopefully he will score many goals for us from now until the end of the season,” Mata reportedly said in United Review Magazine (the club’s official MatchDay programme) for Sunday’s away tie against Everton.
“As the manager said, he’s (Ighalo) a good character he’s got a good personality which has fitted straight into the dressing room. The better he does, then the better for us – and I wish him all the best.”
Mata who arrived Manchester United in almost similar circumstance as Ighalos following his shock transfer from Chelsea in the January 2014 Transfer Window, said it was normal for players to bid for time before settling down into new surroundings.
“It’s probably not ideal (January transfer window) because you don’t have a pre-season tour or the time to really get into the pattern of the team, but it depends,” noted the 31-year-old Mata.
He continued: “It takes time for a player to settle and we shouldn’t expect any miracles from anyone, but I’m sure that with the right mind-set and the right qualities like Bruno (Fernandes) and Odion have, they will be a big help for us.”