Juan Mata has called on his Manchester United teammates to maintain the same level of performance already seen this season as they embark on a hectic September period following the international break.
Jose Mourinho’s men stand above the rest in the Premier League after three games. They are the only side with a 100 per cent record in the division following convincing wins over West Ham United, Swansea City and Leicester, scoring ten goals between six different players – an important hallmark of any successful side – and conceding none in the process.
But the real test starts now. United made a similarly perfect start to their Premier League campaign last year, only to quickly capitulate following the international break. And they simply cannot afford to go down the same road this time around as they take on Stoke City, Everton, Southampton and Crystal Palace in the Premier League. They begin their Champions League campaign with clashes with FC Basel and CSKA Moscow and will begin their League Cup defence against Burton Albion.
And Mata, writing in his weekly blog, has made it clear that Mourinho’s men cannot afford to lessen their tempo ahead of what promises to be a defining month.
“September is going to be very demanding for us with seven games in just 22 days,” he notes. “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. As you know, 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 Andreas 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 City, always a difficult game. After that we will start thinking about the Champions League nights, which are back at Old Trafford, finally.”