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A game at the home of professional football

16 Feb 2015

Hi everyone,

Away goes what has been a different weekend, because we haven’t played, and today we start a new week with two games ahead. Both are away from home and both will require a good performance from us in order to be successful.

We are now on the third spot in the Premiership after beating Burnley in Old Trafford, although this game showed that every team in this league, no matter how they stand on the table, can give you a tough time even in your own stadium. They had a really good first half, but we were able to win thanks to those two headers from Smalling and Robin’s goal from the penalty spot.

That respect for our rivals must be the same tonight against Preston if we want to make it to the last eight of the FA Cup. All of us in the club are very aware of the good chance we have to achieve something great in this competition, and we will try to lift the trophy. But we must go step by step and focus only on this round.

I have been reading a bit about tonight’s rival and I have seen that Preston North End was one of the founder members of the English League, and they even got to win it without a single defeat. We play at Deepdale Stadium, which is considered the world’s oldest stadium in professional football. It is said to have hosted its first game in 1875… Definitely this is a team who also brings that historic touch that I like about English football. However, they are not living in the past: they are in a good position in the League 1 and I’m sure they want to add to his long history a great performance against Manchester United.

And next Saturday we will visit Swansea. They beat us in the opening week of the Premiership. I hope we win this time so we can keep the third spot.

Since we didn’t play this weekend I had some time to watch football highlights on TV. Starting in Germany with Bayern Munich – the machinery proving to be up and running again after a hesitant start in 2015. Also the thrilling game between Bayer Leverkusen and Wolfsburg, which ended 4-5.

In Spain, Real Madrid won a very important game after a complicated week. In those cases, a victory is the best remedy and also helps to recover some energy with a view to the decisive weeks of the season.

Barça enjoyed more though, once again displaying an extraordinary offensive power. Messi seems to be reaching his peak of the season right now. And if we add up the contribution from some other fantastic players, they are potential candidates to win every single competition. Meanwhile, Atlético de Madrid was defeated away from home by a good Celta de Vigo.

Valencia won too, and so did Sevilla; I think the race for the Champions League spots is going to be very interesting.

When you read this, the All Star Game of the NBA will be already over. I watched the three-point contest, won by Curry, and the slam dunk contest, won by Lavine and his amazing dunks, and I’m really pleased that Pau and Marc Gasol have become the first brothers to ever start an All Star Game, which includes the jump ball between the two of them. My congratulations to this pair of phenomenal players!

Have a nice week! Hugs,

Juan Mata

Juan

PS: The International Childhood Cancer Day has been celebrated this Sunday and I would like to send my support to all those people who are fighting this disease.