Mata takes the positives from defeat at Arsenal

Manchester United attacker Juan Mata has ‘taken the positives’ from his team’s 2-0 loss at Arsenal in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon.

The defeat, which was Man United’s first in the league since last October, left the Red Devils four points adrift of the Champions League positions down in fifth spot.

Mata made his first appearance for Jose Mourinho’s side since undergoing groin surgery at the start of last month, however, and the Spain international has revealed his delight at being able to play a part in the final stages of the 2016-17 campaign.

Indeed, next up for Man United is the second leg of their Europa League quarter-final against Celta Vigo, and they will enter Thursday’s fixture at Old Trafford boasting a 1-0 lead from the first leg last week.

Mata wrote in his personal blog:

“Obviously, our game this weekend has had a disappointing result, but once again I prefer to take the positive side. On one hand, I was back on the pitch after several weeks out, and I felt good physically, which is something positive because the end of the season is going to be thrilling.

“I was back doing what I like the most, and I’m really excited about being able to help the team as much as I can in the final sprint. We have to focus on the remaining fixtures, starting with Thursday’s important match: the Europa League semi-final second leg against Celta.

“Our options of entering the Champions League through the Premier League have decreased after this week, but we will keep on trying until the last game, first at Tottenham this coming weekend.”

Mata, who was strongly linked with a move away from Old Trafford last summer, has scored 10 times in 39 appearances for Man United this season, including twice in 10 Europa League fixtures.

The 29-year-old was initially expected to miss the remainder of the 2016-17 campaign following groin surgery, but his return has boosted a team currently struggling with injuries.