Juan Mata, alongside Van Gaal, appeared in press conference on the eve of a decisive game of the Europa League against Midtjylland (Thursday at 20.05 local time). The Spaniard highly values a trophy he won when he was at Chelsea.
Juan Mata, alongside Van Gaal, appeared in press conference on the eve of a decisive game of the Europa League against Midtjylland (Thursday at 20.05 local time). The qualification for the last 16 of the Europa League, a special competition for him, is at stake: “I have won it (with Chelsea, 2013) and I am very proud of it. Hopefully we can go as far as we can, but I know that we have to improve our game level in terms of how we played in Denmark”.
Juan has stressed how important the trophy is for United: “It has a double meaning for us. It has the meaning of winning the Europa League for the first time for this club and as well it gives the chance to play in the Champions League”.
The defeat in Denmark provoked many critics, but this was not what really hurt Mata: “No-one better than us as players knows how we felt in the game and whether we’ve done good or bad. I was very sad and frustrated because of the game, because of the result and because of our away fans – but not because of the media criticism”.
Get far in the Europa League involves a significant fatigue for players, due to the many matches played in a few days. However, Juan downplays this fact: “I don’t think it’s an issue. It wasn’t that season when Chelsea won it because we played more games than ever and I felt good with it. As you go through the rounds and get closer to the final, the passion is bigger than the tiredness in your legs”.