Juan Mata has insisted that Manchester United need to be in their "best shape" possible in terms of form following their final two Premier League matches, as the Red Devils continue to prepare for the upcoming Europa League final clash with Ajax.
Got to push hard in the final leg
It has been a long, hard season for José Mourinho's men having already played 61 games in the current campaign, across five competitions. It has put a real strain on the fitness of his squad and the challenge of three games still remain.
The matches have come thick and fast for the Red Devils as they are set to play three matches in the space of a week, but it does seem the coach has taken more of a focus towards the upcoming trip to Stockholm as it remains the side's only avenue into next season's Champions League.
United's league form has taken a back-burner with consecutive defeats to Arsenal and Tottenham. Mata continued his return to fitness at White Hart Lane and he insisted that United will look to win their final league games to head into the clash with Ajax with some confidence.
"It was the last Premier League game at White Hart Lane," Mata wrote in his blog in reference to Sunday's defeat. "Obviously it would’ve been much better to win and be able to say that you were the last team who won there, but we couldn’t."
"Now it’s time to play two good games to close the Premier League," the Spaniard stated. "And reach the Europa League final in the best shape that we can."
"It’s true that the calendar has been hectic over the last two months," he admitted. "But we have to push hard now to try to win the three remaining games."
A sincere congratulations is in order
Mata has only lifted two major trophies in a United shirt since his arrival in January 2014 from Chelsea, and his and Mourinho's former club have turned their fortunes this campaign under the watch of Antonio Conte.
The Blues have stormed away with the Premier League which was secured last Friday with the 1-0 win over West Brom, and had a homecoming to remember on Monday night with the dramatic 4-3 win over Watford.
Mata reluctantly congratulated his former club of three years, but the 29-year-old insisted he was to feel the same feeling of pleasure in the Friends Arena on May 24.
"I think it’s fair to congratulate Chelsea for winning the Premier League," he said. "They’ve been the most consistent team in the League."
"Thanks to that they were able to celebrate the title last Friday after defeating West Brom," the former Blue stated. "So my sincere congrats to them."
"I hope we can enjoy something similar after the final in Stockholm," the Spaniard stressed. "The semis against Celta were tough."
"We suffered until the last minute but, at the end, we made it to the big final," Mata concluded. "However, as I said after the game, I think they should be very proud of what they did."