herald

Saturday 1 October 2016

Mata wants Cup glory and a top four finishing position

Juan Mata (PA)
Juan Mata (PA)

When asked whether he agrees with Louis van Gaal that finishing in the top four this season is more important for United than winning the FA Cup, Juan Mata doesn't mind disagreeing with his manager.

"We can get both," says Mata. "I believe that if we win every game in the Premier League we will have a chance to be there. I'm looking to win my first trophy with the club. The FA Cup is a special trophy."

As part of the Chelsea side that won the FA Cup in 2012, he's the only member of the current squad to have a winner's medal.

And he insists he understands that a club of United's size and stature need silverware as well as the financial boost playing in the Champions League brings.

"When I was a kid Manchester United were always winning things and fighting for the title," he says.

"It's been two seasons without a trophy and I am looking forward to lifting my first trophy here. But we have to win the final, it is not won yet. We are playing against Crystal Palace and it will be tough, but everyone is looking forward to it."

Despite the draw against Leicester on Sunday, United are a point better off in the race for fourth place after Manchester City were well beaten at Southampton.

City host third-place Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium next weekend, 24 hours after United travel to Norwich, who are involved in their own relegation battle.

"We know that Manchester City and Arsenal have to face each other so maybe then we'll have the chance," he adds. "But first we have to win our games and we are focused on that. If we don't win, it's useless."

The results of United's final three league games against Norwich, West Ham and Bournemouth, plus the FA Cup final against Crystal Palace, could yet decide Van Gaal's future.

There has been much speculation the Dutchman could be replaced by Mata's old Chelsea manager, Jose Mourinho - although the midfielder insists it's 'not the right time' to talk about it.

Mata still has two years left on the contract he signed when he arrived from Stamford Bridge in January 2014 and, having settled well in Manchester, he wouldn't be opposed to staying longer when it comes time to make the decision.

"I feel really good here," he says. "I have to say I am discovering more and more places in the city and I like it. The people have been good to me, they are warm people in Manchester.

"I feel happy here and in the city. I have been lucky that I haven't been injured and I've been able to play almost every game," he adds.

"The team has had good and bad moments. I want to end the season in a good way by scoring and assisting.

"It doesn't matter the position that I play, I always try to play between the lines. My game is to get into those little pockets and try to make the team play."

Promoted articles

Entertainment News