With the 6-1 hammering by Tottenham still fresh in the memory, the Red Devils boss turned to one of his most experienced players to lead the recovery.
Mata, 32, saw his minutes limited to the Carabao Cup in the build-up to the Magpies clash, but he continued to capitalise on each opportunity and remind onlookers of his quality.
The Spaniard followed up his goal in the 3-0 win over Luton with another goal and an assist in the fourth-round victory over Brighton, staking his claim for a first Premier League appearance of the season.
That first appearance came with the trip to St James’ Park and Mata produced a typically creative and dynamic display from his berth on the right flank.
His left foot remains as lethal as ever and his pinpoint, out-swinging corner sparked United’s fightback by picking out Harry Maguire’s head.
Mata also played a vital role in the build-up to Bruno Fernandes’ 86th-minute winner, playing a delightful ball on the turn to send Marcus Rashford through to assist the strike.
Premier League minutes have been increasingly hard to come by for Mata due to the emergence of Mason Greenwood and signing of Daniel James last summer.
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But the World Cup winner proved he still has plenty to offer Solskjaer with his display in the north-east. United have lacked fluency in attack in recent weeks but Mata effortlessly linked the midfield with the forward line and was full of intent.
His performances in the Europa League last season – in which he scored or assisted seven times in 11 games – also show that he has the end product to concern opposition defences.
With Greenwood lacking match fitness, it would be no surprise to see Mata handed another start for the trip to Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday night.
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