“It’s like a final for us” says Juan Mata ahead of Liverpool match
"We have the chance to overcome the score of the Europa League first leg"
March 14th, 2016
Juan Mata has acknowledged that all of his team-mates at Manchester United will be completely focused ahead of what is an extremely important week for the Red Devils.
United welcome Liverpool to Old Trafford for the second leg of their Europa League last-sixteen tie on Thursday evening, followed just three days later by an equally important derby match against arch-rivals Manchester City.
Indeed, Louis van Gaal’s side could finish the week with no European involvement and little hope of finishing the season in the Premier League top four, although Juan Mata is still confident that the supporters could lift the side both home and away this week.
“Playing against Liverpool and Manchester City is always special for us and for our fans,” he said to the club’s official website. “On top of that, we will do it in just four days according to the calendar. There’s a very important week ahead: we have the chance to overcome the score of the Europa League first leg and to shorten the gap with one of our rivals in the Premier League.
“As from today, we are absolutely focused on having two successful games, although the task is not easy and we are aware of that. We must bring back the spirit of the big games and show that we still have the opportunity to lift trophies.
“Back to the Europa League, we need to have a good start on Thursday, with intensity. It’s like a final for us. We need a comeback and I’m sure that the atmosphere in Old Trafford will take us closer to that goal. I’m sure it’s possible.”
United have a mountain to climb in the Europa League following the 2-0 defeat at Anfield in the first leg and they head into this match on the back of a 1-1 draw at home to West Ham United in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.