Despite not featuring in Manchester United's defeat to local rivals Manchester City, attacking midfielder Juan Mata described the loss as "painful", but also suggested that "there is no time for mourning."
Mata, who has been used more than expected by Jose Mourinho but was dropped for the Manchester derby, wrote on his weekly blog that "the result was painful for us, both for the fans and for the team" because "losing a derby is always something tough to take."
Manchester United must hit back against Feyenoord
United quickly have a chance to rectify things with a UEFA Europa League fixture, the first of the group stages, against Dutch side Feyenoord on Thursday evening. The Spaniard believes that "there is no time for mourning," and asked the club's fans to stay optimistic with so much of the season remaining. United, Mata said, must "analyse the aspects of our game that we need to improve, and carry on with hope and motivation." While it was an 'important' game, "the season has just started," and so "there is still a long way to go."
As is the common belief, Mata suggested that Manchester City were far superior in the first half, and that was United's downfall in the defeat last Saturday. He wrote that "City were better than us [United] in the first half, but we [United] improved in the second half," with the involvement of Marcus Rashford and Ander Herrera, showing more character and personality on the pitch. The midfielder admitted that Pep Guardiola's side has further "chances to get more goals," but were not clinical enough and only put two past David de Gea.
Mata ready for "very demanding" European test
Mata may play a part in United's away game at Feyenoord, where the Reds must bounce back to put the derby defeat behind them. Giovanni van Bronckhorst's side will be a tough challenge, their confidence sky high having won their opening five games of the new season. Mata described the game as "very demanding."
It is yet to be seen whether Mata will be a part of that trip to the Netherlands or whether he will be sacrificed to give younger players waiting to make their breakthrough an opportunity at the De Kuip stadium.