Star playmaker Juan Mata has called on Manchester United to put Sunday's heavy 3-0 loss at Tottenham behind them and focus on securing a result against West Ham on Wednesday in order to advance in the FA Cup.
Writing in his blog, the Spaniard admits that the loss on the weekend was bitter, but that it occurred at the perfect time to incite a result in Wednesday's replay at the Boleyn Ground.
Game started well before falling apart
Taking in the post-mortem of United's tepid loss, Mata was certainly correct that United "had a good start" and "the [first] half the game was even." What gave the game a "particularly bitter taste" for Mata was "conceding three goals in just seven minutes" as he felt the team was "doing a few good things before that moment."
United had been developing a few key moments and were holding the game tight until teenager Timothy Fosu-Mensah was substituted in the 68th minute and Tottenham was able to rapidly unlock United's defence in quick succession. Mata admitted that "the first goal was very painful for us" and that the sting of it allowed Tottenham to "[take] advantage of it."
Focus must turn to West Ham
While the result was painful, Mata is adamant that the result came at the perfect time ahead of Wednesday's FA Cup quarter-final replay. The quick turnaround "allows the team to move on from White Hart Lane" and turn the "focus completely on the match against West Ham."
Labeling it "one of the most important games of the season," he said the team "can’t afford to feel sad or upset when preparing for it." He called on the team to take this "fantastic opportunity to make it to Wembley" so to "give our fans what they deserve: a reason for joy."
Manchester United are next in action Wednesday evening against West Ham United in the FA Cup, kick-off is at 19:00 BST. Read a full match preview here.