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Mata lays down Man Utd gauntlet in 'marathon' despite being top of the league

12:36 AM SGT 5/9/17
Juan Mata Manchester United
The Red Devils have enjoyed a flying start to the season, but the games are about to come thick and fast and offer a stern test of their credentials

Juan Mata has set Manchester United the challenge of embracing their 2017-18 “marathon” as a hectic schedule prepares to kick in.

The Red Devils have enjoyed a faultless start to their Premier League campaign, with three victories and as many clean sheets seeing them set the early title-chasing pace.

Jose Mourinho’s side will, however, see their top-flight commitments complemented by Carabao Cup and Champions League action in September.

With the games set to come thick and fast, Mata is looking for those at Old Trafford to prove that they can once again be contenders for top prizes on multiple fronts.

The Spaniard wrote in a blog on his official website: “September is going to be very demanding for us, with seven games in just 22 days.

“We’ve had a very good start in the Premier League and the challenge now is not only to keep the same level, but to do the same in the rest of the competitions as well: Champions League, Carabao Cup.

“It’s a football marathon and we can prove that we have a squad full of good players who are willing to put their skills at the service of the team.”

United return to action with a trip to Stoke on Saturday, before opening their Champions League campaign in midweek with a home date against Basel.

They will also face CSKA Moscow in Europe, Burton Albion in the Carabao Cup and Everton, Southampton and Crystal Palace in the Premier League before September comes to a close and another international break offers some respite.

Man Utd 6/4 to win the Premier League

Mata is looking forward to facing those challenges head on, with United having worked hard over the summer to ensure that their squad is in the best possible shape to compete.

He added: "There have been many rumours about signings here and there before the end of the transfer market. In our case, these days have been relatively quiet, since the squad was closed with Zlatan’s return.

“I’d like to wish the best of luck to Andres Pereira in Valencia, he’s a great player and I hope he has a good season and the fans can enjoy it.

“The Premier League is back this week and we’re going to focus on our visit to Stoke, always a difficult game. After that we will start thinking about the Champions League nights, which are back at Old Trafford, finally.”