Juan Mata is confident Manchester United have all the tools to challenge for the Premier League title this season, but warned that the team must not get carried away by their fine start to the season.
United finished sixth in Jose Mourinho’s first campaign at Old Trafford, but winning the Europa League secured them a return to the Champions League, while they also lifted the League Cup.
Mata believes the Red Devils will challenge for more silverware this term and thinks winning the league is a distinct possibility.
However, the Spain midfielder says United – who have won their opening three league games – must continue to show a high level of consistency to be among the chasing pack come May.
“The belief is always there. When you play for such a club you start every competition believing that you can win it,” said Mata.
“Some bad games didn’t allow us to win it last year, but we need to find that consistency that can make us fight in the last months and be one of those teams that will be up there.
“It’s the second year for the manager, he knows everyone better, we know each other better, so let’s try.
“We’re really pleased with our start, but it’s only a start. We’ve won three games with confidence and good football.”
Marcus Rashford has started two of United’s three Premier League matches so far and scored in England’s 2-1 win over Slovakia on Monday, with Mata tipping him for big things.
“From the first moment we saw him in training, we knew he was someone special,” Mata said.
My first Wembley goal and one more step towards Russia pic.twitter.com/dz0U771oZm
— Marcus Rashford (@MarcusRashford) September 4, 2017
“He is making it real scoring for us and England. He can be even bigger. He is a real threat. He has great qualities and the mentality to become a big, big player.”
Mata made headlines when he committed to giving one per cent of his salary to charity as part of the Common Goal project he is fronting.
Asked if any of his United players would be publicly backing the initiative, he said: “They will. I’m almost ready to say who. We have more players coming but it is step by step.
“The final idea would be for the whole professional industry commit, not just the footballers.
“Sometimes football can have a bad reputation but there are great people in football who are trying to help.
“I believe there are great values in football and, if this helps on that, then great.”
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