Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata has predicted a strong end to the season for Jose Mourinho’s side as they look to finish the campaign on a positive note.
The Red Devils suffered a huge set-back just under a fortnight ago when they were eliminated from the Champions League at the hands of Spanish side Sevilla.
The La Liga giants progressed to the competition’s last eight after beating United 2-1 at Old Trafford courtesy of a Wissam Ben Yedder brace.
Mourinho’s side are all but out of the race for the Premier League title too, with rivals City 16 points clear with only eight games to play – but Mata insists his side must focus on the positives and finish the season as strongly as possible, including reaching the FA Cup final in May.
“Having a look at the calendar, I see that there are only nine games remaining, hopefully 10, said Mata writing in his weekly blog on the club’s official website, “because that will mean that we made it to the FA Cup final which will take place at Wembley on the 19th of May. So that’s our goal: playing 10 games from here to the end of the season.
“The first one is next Saturday, back to the Premier League. We will play at Old Trafford against Swansea and a victory would be very important to show that we want to maintain our position in the table. Then, we will have plenty of time to think about the derby and the rest of the games ahead.”
The Spaniard also took the opportunity to bid farewell to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who left the club last week.
Ibrahimovic, who joined United in the summer of 2016 from PSG, left for MLS side LA Galaxy after just over 18-months at Old Trafford, a period in which he scored 29 goals.
And Mata says it was an honour to play with the former Barcelona and Inter Milan player and wished him luck in his endeavour’s across the pond.
“Last week we bade farewell to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who will continue his career at LA Galaxy.” he continued.
“It’s been a privilege to share the dressing room with one of the best strikers of the last 15 years, a footballer with a special personality, on and off the pitch, who has played in different leagues and always in big clubs.
“Good luck in MLS, Zlatan, I’m sure that you will keep scoring goals and enjoying football for a long time.”