Wednesday 17 January 2018

Juan Mata admits Manchester United didn't deserve to qualify for Champions League

Juan Mata
Juan Mata
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata admits his side can have no complaints after their hopes of securing a return to the Champions League were dashed on the final day of the season.

Mata and his United team-mates were involved in a bizarre afternoon at Old Trafford, as their game against Bournemouth was abandoned due to a bomb scare that turned out to be a device left behind by a security firm and not a threatening explosive.

Yet Manchester City’s 1-1 draw at Swansea means United will finish outside of the top four places in the Premier League, piling pressure on manager Louis van Gaal once again.

“It leaves us with a bad taste because, even if we enjoyed good moments together throughout the season, we weren't consistent enough to qualify for the top European competition,” conceded Mata in his latest blog.

“It's true that we found many difficulties along the way, especially if we talk about injuries (up to 15 players in several weeks, as far as I remember), but Manchester United must be ambitious and always fight for everything. Personally, I feel privileged to have played every single game of the Premier League - actually I don't know if I have done something like this before.

“Nevertheless, football is a team sport and that's what really matters. Today, I feel sad because our supporters couldn't even have a normal last day of the Premier League, but we hope to grab a victory for them before the season expires.”

Mata is now looking forward to next weekend’s FA Cup final against Crystal Palace, as he talked up the merits of finishing the season on a high with glory at Wembley.

“Luckily, we have won the chance to get a trophy for you and that's what we will try to do this coming Saturday,” he added.

“Winning the FA Cup would be wonderful, a great prize. I've been lucky to win a final at Wembley and I know what this competition means here and in the world.

“With more than 140 years of history, such an amount of teams participating every season (I've read there are over 700) and the final being played at Wembley, the FA Cup is something unique. We will need our best performance to beat Crystal Palace; they got here after eliminating four Premier League teams, and they are always a very competitive team with an elaborate style of play.”

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