Belfast Telegraph

Wembley on Juan Mata's mind after 'very emotional' week at Manchester United

Juan Mata has Wembley on his mind after a "very emotional" few days at Manchester United.

Jose Mourinho's men have secured their ticket to next month's EFL Cup final, despite losing the semi-final second leg 2-1 - and their 17-match unbeaten run - at struggling Hull on Thursday.

Southampton lie in wait on February 26 as United look to replicate August's Community Shield win there, while Sunday's 4-0 defeat of Wigan keeps hopes alive of retaining the FA Cup.

"The last few days have been very emotional," Mata said. "The week with both cups is over and it's been very positive for us.

"We started with a defeat that ended our streak of undefeated games, although we were able to eliminate Hull and make it to the EFL Cup final. The game was really tough.

"The game was more complicated than the 4-0 (result) might say (against Wigan).

"The score wasn't too fair with them, because they made things very difficult for us in the first half, playing with a compact defence and showing good skills with the ball possession.

"However, in the second half we were more accurate and we could win the game in a competition that I do love, as you know."

Mata has won the FA Cup with both Chelsea and United, but has failed to win the Premier League during his success-laden time in England.

That wait appears likely to continue given United currently sit sixth and 14 points behind Antonio Conte's table-topping Chelsea side.

However, Mourinho's side have shown some improvements of late and can give their campaign a shot in the arm as Hull visit in the league on Wednesday before this weekend's trip to Leicester.

"As you know, with such a busy schedule there's no respite," Mata wrote on his blog.

"In three days we have another fixture, this time against Hull in the Premier League. And later on we will go to Leicester.

"Let's hope to have another positive week."

The positives are something Wigan are keeping in mind after an impressive start at Old Trafford was thrown off kilter by Marouane Fellaini's header just before half-time.

Chris Smalling, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and the returning Bastian Schweinsteiger wrapped up a 4-0 win, bringing the rejuvenated Latics' three-match winning streak to an end.

Wigan winger Michael Jacobs is focusing on the positives ahead of Friday's match at home to Sheffield Wednesday as they look to stave off relegation.

"We want to win every game but it was a massive experience to come here and test ourselves against the best," Jacobs told Latics Player.

"All our focus this week is now on Sheffield Wednesday on Sky on Friday night and that's a massive game again.

"We have to build on our recent results and get another win because Burton's result at the weekend has dropped us back into the bottom three.

"We're confident, though, and we gave a good account of ourselves in the first half today so hopefully we take that into next Friday."


From Belfast Telegraph