Juan Mata has hailed his Manchester United and Spain team-mate David de Gea saying that the goalkeeper "has huge faith in himself" and that he is so calm during matches he is almost "unconscious".
De Gea was recently voted Manchester United player of the year by his team-mates and fans and is one of the few players to have emerged from a difficult season in credit. Mata, who joined United from Chelsea in January, says he has been very impressed with the goalkeeper, whom he played with for the Spanish Under-21s.
"He has huge faith in himself, which is a really important virtue," Mata says. "He doesn't let anything affect him. The day he makes a mistake he knows he has made a mistake but it never sinks him. He uses it to make sure that he doesn't make the mistake next time. It's a great quality. He's very calm. At times it seems almost like it's unconscious but that's a good thing.
"I've spoken to friends from Asturias about this and they say: 'bloody hell, it's as if [Leo] Messi doesn't care about anything, it's like he's just not bothered.' He scores goals and acts as if it's normal. But maybe that's a good thing. At this level, there's so much pressure and maybe if you tell yourself that you have to be brilliant all the time, when you make a mistake you collapse. Maybe you have to treat it all as a bit more 'normal'. I think that's a quality that great players have."
Mata also paid tribute to De Gea for helping him out as he settled in following his move from Chelsea. "It really helped that David De Gea was here. We had played together in the Spanish Under-21s. That makes a real difference for me ... and for him. It's a two-way street. I'm happy he's here ... and in fact, he has been one of the best players in the team too. He's happy that I am here too. We live very close together, we spend a lot of time together.
"The same as with Torres at Chelsea? No, with De Gea it's different because I'm the older one ... but he's the person I see the most of, we go to training together. I didn't know him as well before as I do now and he's a trozo de pan, a really lovely guy. He's also a brilliant goalkeeper who I am sure is going to eat the world."