Juan Mata has insisted that Manchester United’s win over Brighton and Hove Albion over the weekend does not make up for their Champions League exit at the hands of Sevilla.
Jose Mourinho’s men capitulated in front of an anxious Old Trafford, devoid of attacking precision or control, and deservedly went out to two quick Wassim Ben Yedder goals.
They claimed a comfortable 2-0 win over Brighton to claim a spot in the FA Cup semi-final but there remains an unavoidable sense of gloom around the club.
Writing in his weekly blog, Mata was quick to admit that last weekend’s victory does not cover up what was a monumentally disappointing European exit.
“But it doesn’t mitigate the feeling, shared with all of you, that we had the chance to be in the quarter finals and we didn’t have a good game last Tuesday,” he wrote.
“We are frustrated, same as you are. In the complicated moments like this one is when a team has to be more united. Together we win and together we lose.
“We aim to play the Champions League next season and hopefully make you happier than this year in the top European competition.”
Never before in the Mourinho era has one result – one game – turned the tide of opinion against the manager and, more generally, engendered such a toxic atmosphere among supporters in such widespread fashion. Make no mistake: supporters want blood for what they saw against the La Liga side.
And while it did not resemble the end of days for the Portuguese – unlike, say, that 2-2 draw with Fulham under David Moyes – the mood around the ground was one of similarly acute despondency. Mourinho cannot let it swarm the rest of their season.