'We must raise our level' - Mata issues rallying cry to Man Utd team-mates after disappointing season

The Spanish midfielder, who signed a new contract in June, has admitted his side's performances last season were not up to their usual standards
The Spanish midfielder, who signed a new contract in June, has admitted his side's performances last season were not up to their usual standards

Juan Mata is targeting improvement at Manchester United this season after admitting their performance levels last season “wasn’t good enough”.

The Red Devils finished sixth in the Premier League, missing out on Champions League qualification as a result, while they exited Europe's biggest cup competition at the quarter-final stage after losing 4-0 on aggregate to Barcelona.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side also failed to lift silverware in domestic cup competitions as they were knocked out of the Emirates FA Cup in the sixth round, as well as an unceremonious exit from the Carabao Cup in the third round at the hands of Derby County.

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Mata, who signed a new contract in June which keeps him at Old Trafford until 2021, admits that last season’s displays did not match the club’s usual high standards.

“We know that last season wasn't good enough,” he told media at an Adidas event in Singapore.

“So we need to improve, we need to try our best in this upcoming season.

“What we have to do is raise our level and compete and let's see where we end up.

“You know, the level in the Premier League is getting better every single year.

“All the clubs have been bringing (in) very good players, so we need to try to be at our best.”

United tasted victory in their opening game of pre-season with a 1-0 win over Inter in the International Champions Cup on Saturday, and face last season’s Champions League finalists Tottenham in their next fixture on Thursday.

Teenage midfielder Mason Greenwood scored the only goal of the game against the Nerazzurri, while Solskjaer has also reserved praise for new signing Daniel James after his impressive pre-season performances.

Mata is focused on the club’s pre-season fixtures ahead at the moment, adding: “Tottenham is going to be tough, [AC 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.”

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