Juan Mata believes that Manchester United can continue to translate dominant performances into victories as the new year approaches.
Jose Mourinho’s side slumped down the Premier League table during the early stages of the season after failing to capitalise on promising performances against the likes of Stoke City, Burnley, Arsenal, West Ham United and Everton.
However, Man United have demonstrated signs of a resurgence in recent weeks, recording four wins on the trot going into the new year.
Mata, writing in his weekly blog, outlined the manager’s plan to continue such form in 2017.
“Our win against WBA on Saturday, the fourth victory in a row, gives us plenty of optimism and good feelings with a view to the last two weeks of the year,” he said.
“We are reinforcing something that I’ve been claiming since the start of the season – that the team has got potential and good football, and I’m sure we will keep showing that in 2017.
“Before the end of the year we have two more games in Old Trafford where we will try to continue with the positive results.
“In the last two away fixtures we had tough games against Crystal Palace and West Brom, and we didn’t have much time to rest in between, but we were able to win both of them with a mix of talent, effort, and being united.
“That should be our mentality when we play against Sunderland and Middlesbrough, to try to approach the teams ahead of us on the table before the end of the year.
“We haven’t yet reached the half of the season and we want to extend this good run of results for as long as we can. Everything can happen in the Premier League. This competition is well-known for being very thrilling until the end, and there’s still a long way to get there.”
Mourinho’s men, following *another* 1-1 draw (this time against Everton), appeared to have all but thrown away any possibility of finishing in a promising position come May.
But it seems as if United have finally found their groove at the ideal time. Sir Alex Ferguson used to claim that the Premier League season only starts to matter in January, and Mourinho will be keen to adopt a similar mindset. With every side – except for Chelsea – displaying an ability to capitulate at any given moment, the 53-year-old will be keen to see his side use their newfound momentum to chase the pack as the ‘business end’ of the season approaches.