Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata has vowed the players will give their all to win the UEFA Europa League final.
The Reds take on Dutch side Ajax at the Friends Arena in Stockholm tonight [Wednesday], with the winners qualifying for next season’s Champions League competition. Speaking to MUTV last week in the build-up to the game, Mata explained why United are determined to get a result in Sweden.
“It’s really important for us,” he said. “We can win a trophy the club has never won, a European trophy, and then obviously have the chance to play Champions League football next season. So we are taking it very seriously and are focused on trying to win.
“We’ve played a lot of games but, for me, when you reach a final, the mental power is much stronger than the physical side of it. We are just focused on giving the last push of the season, using all our strength and leaving everything on the pitch, and trying to win.
“It was one of my aims when I came – to win big trophies. Hopefully we can do it on Wednesday and then, next season, another one. Since I came, we won some trophies but no European ones and it’s always special to play in Europe with this club.”
United have played 14 matches in Europe this season and 63 in all competitions heading into the clash with Ajax.
“It’s a long competition,” Mata added. “If you want to reach the final, you have to play so many games and get through so many rounds. And yes, it all started with a defeat to Feyenoord but we won some games after that, qualified from the group and then we beat some other teams.
“In the last one, the semi-final against Celta Vigo, they played great, but here we are in the final and finals are special games – not normal games. So we need to be really focused on that.
“When you’re Manchester United and you’re in the Europa League, you’re the favourites to get to the final and win it, but it’s never easy. I think we’ve managed the pressure really well and hopefully we can do the same in the final.”
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