Juan Mata says he and his Manchester United team-mates must learn to embrace the pressure of playing for a club of such stature.
Manager Jose Mourinho seemingly questioned his players’ attitude before last weekend’s 3-0 win over Leicester City and told the team they need to get out of their “comfort zone”.
Mata recognises that sides will always raise their game when playing against United and urged the team to cope with the high expectation levels at Old Trafford.
“You need to manage playing here and you need to handle it,” he told Soccer Saturday.
“If you play for a club like this you need to know that there is a lot of competition for places. There is a lot of competition within the team and then with other clubs.
“When a team faces Manchester United they will always fight until the end. We have to be ready for that and when you play for United you need to know that. I think the right mentality is to try to win.”
The Spain international is a World Cup and European Championship winner with his country, while across spells at Chelsea and Manchester United he has won the FA Cup, Champions League and Europa League.
But as yet the former Valencia star is without a league title and with the Red Devils 14 points adrift of leaders Chelsea in sixth, the prospect of breaking that duck this season is bleak.
Mata, though, insists the passion still burns deep to have more success in football.
“I would love to win it. I have been lucky enough to win so many trophies already. But I’ve been in England six seasons now and haven’t won it yet,” he added.
“I’m 28 years old now and time flies. It feels like yesterday that I was playing in my first year at Valencia when I was 19.
“There are so many good and bad things that I’ve been through, flying through the years, so you need to sometimes take a step aside and think about what you are doing and what you still want to achieve.
“Because for me it’s very important not to relax as a professional footballer and think I’ve won trophies with great teams and that is success. For me it is about always getting hungrier, trying to improve and trying to be better.”
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