Juan Mata lays down challenge to Manchester United

After no trophies and no top-four finish in 2018-19, Juan Mata wants a much-improved season at Manchester United.

Juan Mata leads Manchester United celebrations against Leeds United.   -  Getty Images

Juan Mata has challenged Manchester United to improve in the coming season after admitting it was not up to standard in 2018-19.

United finished sixth and failed to win a trophy for the second consecutive season, with Jose Mourinho sacked in December and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer unable to salvage success despite a strong start in the Old Trafford dugout. The Red Devils' failure to lift a first piece of silverware since the 2016 Europa League was made worse as they had to endure fierce rival Manchester City completing a domestic treble and Liverpool winning the Champions League.

'We need to improve'

It means Mata, who signed a new two-year deal in June with the option to extend for a further year, is desperate to see some improvement in the coming months. "We know that last season wasn't good enough. So, we need to improve, we need to try our best in this upcoming season," he said at a sponsor event in Singapore.

"What we have to do is raise our level and compete and let's see where we end up. The level in the Premier League is getting better every single year. All the clubs have been bringing very good players. So, we need to try to be at our best."

 

United has enjoyed an encouraging pre-season, beating Perth Glory and Leeds United in friendly matches and Inter in the International Champions Cup without conceding a goal.

Mata expects difficult games against Tottenham and AC Milan to come but hopes they leave United in good stead for a daunting first Premier League match of the season at home to Chelsea on August 11. "Tottenham is going to be tough, Milan is going to be tough, so we still have a few difficult games but [we planned] to use these games to get ready for the Chelsea game which is our first official game and that's the important one and the one that we have to be ready to win," he said.