Juan Mata promises Manchester United will refocus after shock West Brom loss

Simon Peach
The Independent
Juan Mata promises Manchester United will refocus after shock West Brom loss
Juan Mata promises Manchester United will refocus after shock West Brom loss

Juan Mata pledged to refocus and help Manchester United emerge stronger from a season-defining week that started with a galling loss to West Brom and rivals Manchester City clinching the title.

Pep Guardiola knew a result as improbable as the 3-2 derby loss at home to United would be needed to seal the Premier League without kicking a ball on Sunday.

However, rudderless and managerless West Brom caused the shock of the season as Jay Rodriguez secured a remarkable 1-0 win at Old Trafford, sparking wild celebrations across the blue half of the city.

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It was a gut punch for Jose Mourinho's men, leaving them needing to strengthen their hold over second spot at Bournemouth on Wednesday before Saturday's Wembley date against Tottenham in the FA Cup semi-finals.

Mata is determined to bounce back, but knows "any comments made after the (West Brom) game sound like hollow words".

"Some Mondays are happy, and some others are not," he wrote on his blog. "This is one of the latter. We played a bad game this Sunday. There's not much to add. There's nothing to detract from West Bromwich, but we didn't live up to our expectations.

"It's disappointing, even more after the win last week, but this is football. That's why it's so important to keep the right balance in the good and in the bad times. Congratulations to Manchester City, who are mathematically the Premier League winners.

"We will keep focusing on two goals from here to the end of the season: keeping the second place and trying to get to the FA Cup final and to win the title. In order to do that, this new week is really important."

United's limp display irked Mourinho and the manager said overconfidence was key in allowing the beleaguered Baggies to secure just their fourth league win of a dreadful Premier League campaign.

The Red Devils were praised for overcoming a terrible first half and two-goal deficit to spoil City's title party at the Etihad Stadium last weekend, although some of their players patently took their eye off the ball in the wake of that 3-2 win.

Put to Mourinho that confidence would have been high after the Manchester derby, the United boss told MUTV: "Too high. Too high. Too high because when you win a match that gives you nothing, it just gives you three points, but you react in a way that it looks like you won something really important, you pay the price."

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