Monday, October 24, 2016 11:40 am
Juan Mata has told his Manchester United teammates to see the painful defeat at Chelsea as a challenge that they had faced and must keep aside as they continue their campaign in the ongoing English Premier League season.
Mata admits Sunday’s 4-0 defeat to his former club Chelsea was “a very painful result” but insists United must work hard and stay together ahead of another big match.
Mata, who spent two-and-a-half seasons with the hosts between 2011 and 2014, came off the bench at half-time as a replacement for Marouane Fellaini but the second period was much like the first with the Blues scoring twice. The Spanish midfielder acknowledged it was a difficult day but stressed it was important the Reds work hard and prepare well for the Manchester derby on Wednesday in the EFL Cup.
“It was a tough afternoon, a very painful result,” he told the club’s website. “Obviously we were thinking about a different kind of game and it started badly with the first goal in the first minute. After that we tried to create, we tried to score goals, but I think when we were in our best moment we conceded the second goal. It was one of those difficult days but we have to keep going.
“That’s football and that’s the way it is. Today we feel bad, but we have a game in three days and if we win that game we will feel completely opposite. You have to be stable in your mind and keep working hard.”
Pedro opened the scoring for Chelsea after just 30 seconds and Mata believes that threw United’s game plan out of the window.
“The game changed completely,” he continued. “It was a very, very early goal and it made the game very difficult for us from that moment, but we still had 89 minutes to try to score and we didn’t. It’s not the time to think about these kinds of mistakes.
“It’s time to think about keeping the team together, being strong in our mind and face the next game, which is a very important game in these conditions.”
The second goal came when centre-back Gary Cahill fired home after the ball fell to him following a deflection off the unlucky Ander Herrera. Despite trailing 2-0 at the break, Mata felt United still had a chance of salvaging something from the game.
“I thought we were in our best moment [after the second goal], playing in their half and trying to create something. We felt that we could do something after half-time and we had chances to score a goal.
“We felt the same after the third goal, we were playing in their half and trying to create and then we conceded on the counter-attack.”
Despite seeing their team go 4-0 down, the United fans were in terrific voice throughout and Mata concluded by expressing his gratitude to them.
“They kept going for 90 minutes,” he concluded. “I say this every time I speak. They are incredible.
“We were losing 3-0, 4-0 and they were still supporting us. That’s something that we feel and obviously when we win and enjoy good moments it’s all for them because they deserve it.”