Juan Mata is convinced it is only a matter of time Premier League games are played abroad.

Although plans for a '39th game' are currently shelved, Manchester United midfielder Mata believes top-flight games abroad will happen “sooner rather than later”.

With sports like the NFL having already hosted games outside of the US, Mata reckons it is inevitable that commercial and financial demands will eventually lead to Premier League games overseas.

“I think this is something that might happen eventually,” said Mata.

“We've seen it in different sports, we've seen it with some sports played abroad and they are still in competitions.

“I don’t know if it will happen or not but, because of the way football seems to be going, it might happen sooner rather than later.

Mata believes it's a matter of time before United and others play league games abroad

“It will be great for our fans around the world, to be honest. It will be great to see us play live, playing for competitive points.

“It will be difficult to organise to be honest, and also a little bit unfair for the people that live in the UK who go to every single game.

“So there's a little bit of a discussion there to speak deeper about it, but I think that it will happen in football.”

Mata has opened up on a desire to go into management

Mata, speaking to MUTV from his home during the lockdown, also talked of his desire to go into management when his playing days are over.

But the 31-year-old, who has two more years to run on his United deal, fears the pressures of modern-day football would ultimately compromise his approach to management.

“It’s a difficult question,” said Mata. “Some days, yes, some days, no.

“Some days, yes because I love football.

“You can train to play in a certain way, you can train to develop players and make them reach their highest level.

“I like many parts of the game and what happens on the pitch.

“But, on the other side, your life is constantly questioned and the demands are so high, because it all depends on whether the ball goes into the goal and you can win or not. So your ability is judged by results.

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“If you’re a player, you can change the result because you’re in the game and you can do better or worse.

“But if you’re a manager from the bench, you can pick the team and have an idea, but you cannot score the goal. That’s not fair for them sometimes.

“It’s a very demanding job in terms of the hours you have to put in and the demands and the pressure.

“But, on the other side, it’s fantastic to see a team play the way you want and the players understand your ideas. So I don’t know.”