Juan Mata has called on his Manchester United teammates to bring more consistency to their game next season.
Jose Mourinho’s men finished in second place last season, racking up their highest points total since 2013 in the process (81), and enjoyed their finest record against the top six in the post-Ferguson era.
However, the season was ultimately regarded as a failure following defeat in the FA Cup final and a series of defeats to clubs from the bottom half of the table.
Speaking ahead of Man United’s pre-season clash with Liverpool on Saturday, Mata stressed the importance of avoiding such slips in form during the campaign.
“I know what Manchester United fans want, they want to win trophies, be proud of the team and enjoy us when they watch us play and we want the same,” he said.
“The team that wins the Premier League is the most consistent, winning points and points, week in, week out. We need to do that if we want to win.
“Obviously there is the Champions League, FA Cup and League Cup, so we have many tournaments to play for and hopefully we can go to the end in all of them.
“We want a positive season, to try and play good football and try and win some trophies. We have this magnificent fanbase, all around the world. We want to make them proud and win things for them in a good style.”
Huddersfield Town, West Bromwich Albion, Newcastle United, Brighton and Hove Albion, that inexplicable Christmas time trifecta of uniquely miserable draws with Leicester City, Burnley and Southampton. Bottling it at home to Manchester City and Sevilla. Bottling it away to Tottenham Hotspur. Bottling it in the FA Cup final.
This is where United fell down last season. These games more than any others were what defined the disappointed feel of United’s 2017/18 campaign.
They cannot be expected to win every week. Nor can they be expected to avoid crushing defeats. What they can – and must – avoid next season, however, is that nasty trait of starting games flat, and ending them in ignominy.
Too often the tempo was flat, with United paying the price. Supporters will expect Mourinho to address that before anything heading into the new campaign.