Juan Mata has been looking ahead to Manchester United’s “huge” clash with Tottenham Hotspur this evening.
Jose Mourinho’s men need a win against the North London side having suffered a miserable defeat at the hands of Brighton and Hove Albion last weekend.
The 55-year-old has gotten the better of Mauricio Pochettino in both league games at Old Trafford so far, claiming a pair of 1-0 wins over the Argentine.
Writing in his weekly blog, Mata stressed that the meeting with Spurs would be a “very tough” challenge.
“This week we are playing on Monday, so I can’t talk about the game we’ve played, but rather those which are to come,” he said.
“Today’s match is very tough. Tottenham have been one of the most solid and competitive teams in recent seasons, and to be able to say that in the Premier League is really something.
“It is a huge challenge and I am sure that Old Trafford is going to help us a lot, as the fans have on so many other occasions. We are really up for playing this game at our stadium, in front of our fans and to put in a good performance from the first minute until the last.”
A victory will dispel the demons encircling the club at the moment, whereas defeat would set in motion a fallout so nuclear it isn’t worth thinking about – especially since it would come against a manager who, in Pochettino, many believe to be a better fit for the United job than the current boss..
This is only the third game of United’s season but a second defeat would constitute the worst start to a campaign in the post-Ferguson since Louis van Gaal managed a loss and two draws in his opening trio of fixtures in 2014.
He would not want to admit it, but Mourinho will know just how big this game is for his career.