Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata has stated how important it is for the Red Devils to recharge their batteries after their festive fixture pile-up, as José Mourinho's side head to Dubai for warm-weather training
'Going to be very positive for us'
The amount of fixtures across the festive period has affected all sides up and down the football pyramid, and that has been no different at Old Trafford with United playing five games in 14 days.
Mourinho's side entered the FA Cup race on Friday night when goals from Jesse Lingard and Romelu Lukaku gave them a 2-0 win over Derby, their win and Stoke City's defeat to Coventry City meaning that they would have over a week ahead of their clash with The Potters next Monday.
The Red Devils opted to travel to the Middle East for warm-weather training, which will allow Mourinho time on the training pitch with his squad and Mata stated it will be important for the side to recharge their batteries.
"This five-day training camp is going to be very positive for us to recharge the batteries," Mata stated in his blog on manutd.com. "In order to get ready for the five thrilling months of the competition that lie ahead."
"Besides, I think spending time with the team-mates apart from the usual daily training can be very good," the Spaniard stated. "We will have time to train, chat, to strengthen the group."
"It’s like a break in the routine of the day-to-day activity and that is always positive," the 29-year-old added. "I hope we come back full of energy for the game against Stoke at Old Trafford."
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'Capable of beating every opponent'
The fixture pile-up certainly seemed to have an effect on the Red Devils towards the end of 2017, as three consecutive draws against Leicester City, Burnley and Southampton saw the distance between them and the leaders Manchester City ever increase.
With the pressure on however they managed to start the year right with the win over Everton followed by Friday's victory over Gary Rowett's men, Mata stated the wins have been a good boost and believe they are capable of beating "every opponent".
"We have started 2018 with two consecutive wins by 2-0," he said on United's start to the New Year. "So we feel very optimistic for the following games."
"Starting the year with a victory at Goodison Park was very important to confirm that," the midfielder proclaimed. "Despite the amount of games that we have played, the team is ambitious and we are capable of beating every opponent."
"A few days later, the win against Derby County gave us a place in the next round of the FA Cup," Mata concluded. "As I always say, this competition is particularly nice. There’s something special about it."