Juan Mata is set to return to the Manchester United squad against Swansea just four weeks after he had groin surgery.
Antonio Valencia all but confirmed Mata’s match-fitness in an Instagram post on Saturday evening and the Spaniard was then spotted giving M.E.N. photographers the thumbs up as he arrived with teammates at The Lowry Hotel.
Photographers asked Mata while he lunched before training when he would be back and he replied: “Very soon.”
United manager Jose Mourinho suggested on Thursday he expected the 29-year-old to play again this season.
“I think the first one to come back is Mata,” Mourinho said. “Which will give us another option in attack, but in reality what we need now is one of the two centre-backs to be back.”
Mata intimated in his blog on Monday he would return to the United side shortly.
“I’m feeling much better now and I hope to be back with the team soon, to try to help in the last spell of the season,” Mata said. “I hope so, because that’s all I want: being always available to help and to contribute as much as I can, both on and off the pitch.”
Mourinho had previously said Mata was due back at the end of May and Chris Smalling and Phil Jones were expected to be available in ‘mid-May’.
Mata’s availability meant Mourinho only had to promote one Reserve player to the first-team squad and chose 20-year-old midfielder Scott McTominay.