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Mata: Man Utd season hasn't been a failure

07:55 IST 13/05/2018
Juan Mata Manchester United
The Red Devils were unable to sustain a Premier League title challenge in 2017-18, but they have finished second and can still secure FA Cup glory

Juan Mata refuses to concede that Manchester United have “failed” in 2017-18 despite being unable to sustain a Premier League title challenge.

The Red Devils opened the season in positive fashion to suggest that they would be capable of competing for the top-flight crown.

Inconsistency soon set in, though, and those at Old Trafford have been forced to watch on from afar as arch-rivals Manchester City have secured domestic dominance in record-breaking style.

United have had to settle for second best as a result, but they can still land the FA Cup and Mata believes there is cause for optimism.

The Spain international told the Times of India: “Manchester United are one of the biggest clubs in the world ­because we are ­always a title ­contender.

“If one year it’s not possible, a lot of people will say that we have failed – but that’s not true.

“We wanted to win the title, but the season wasn’t bad. It’s still possible to win the FA Cup and, if we do that, then I don’t ­consider it a negative campaign.

“So, for us now, the FA Cup Final is the match of the year. It’s a ­special trophy and we are ­dreaming of winning it.”

United now have another important transfer window in which to try and bridge the gap to City, with Mata confident that Mourinho will have the Red Devils back in the mix for 2018-19 – with it unlikely that Pep Guardiola can piece together a run of title triumphs.

He added: “United are a club which have to fight for titles and our objective next season will be the Premier League for certain.

“I know that it hurts the ­supporters that City won the title this time, even if our victory at the Etihad gave us a little satisfaction.

“So we want to finish the ­season well for them now. People say City will dominate the league for years, but I don’t see that.

“This Premier League is tough, and I don’t see them winning the title three or four times in a row.”