Manchester United 'have to win the Premier League title next season', says Juan Mata

The Spaniard targets a return to the top after playing part in disappointing season

Juan Mata knows this has been a sorry season for Manchester United but is confident they will be challenging for the title again next term.

Few could have imagined the woeful campaign that would follow Sir Alex Ferguson's 27-year reign coming to an end with a 13th league title.

United's seventh-place finish was their worst in the Premier League era and means they will be absent from European competition for the first time in 25 years.

Just to rub salt into the wound, neighbours Manchester City wrestled the title away from them on Sunday - a situation January signing Mata has vowed to put right next term.

"It's always nice to finish with a goal, and especially from a free-kick," he said after scoring in Sunday's 1-1 draw at Southampton.

"I will tell David De Gea to stay with me at the end of the training sessions so I can practise more.

"The goal helped the team to avoid a defeat in Southampton, although the score and our final position on the table is nothing we feel proud of.

"At United, if you don't win the Premier League one year you know you have to do it the next time, and we will get ready for that.

"I believe it's fair to congratulate Manchester City for winning for the title. We will try to bring the celebrations to our side the next year."

 

Mata will undoubtedly play a key role in that title bid, with the Spain international settling in impressively after swapping Chelsea for United in January.

The 26-year-old has won the club's player of the month award in two of the three months since his arrival and is "looking forward to more".

It is Mata's compatriot that got the main award this term, though, with De Gea's fine form between the sticks seeing him collect the Player of the Year award - a crown made all the more special given no goalkeeper has won it before.

"The big prize was for De Gea and I was honoured to present it: United's Player of the Year, voted for both by the fans and the players," he posted on his official website, http://www.juanmata10.com.

"It's the first time that the trophy goes to a United goalkeeper and David deserves a lot of credit for that.

"He's got amazing qualities and he may become one of the best goalkeepers in the world - I believe so."

United are expected to name Louis van Gaal as manager this week, when the future of Sunday's opponents Southampton is also expected to become clearer.

England internationals Luke Shaw and Adam Lallana have reportedly been subject of bids from Manchester United and Liverpool, respectively, while manager Mauricio Pochettino's future remains the subject of much speculation.

The Saints boss is expected to talk about a new deal with the board on Monday, having overseen Saints' best ever Premier League season.

Southampton finished eighth with a points haul of 56 - an achievement particularly special to Rickie Lambert, who has been key in the club's rise from the League One doldrums.

"We were hoping for it and we believed in it and we've done it," the striker said.

"Not just this season, every year we've gone above and beyond, it's been amazing to be a part of, and that's just topped it off.

"I've given my all and I've absolutely loved playing with this group as they've come up over the last five years and I've loved every minute. It's the way we play - everything is a credit to Southampton Football Club.

"It says everything about Southampton for going down and then

PA

Suggested Topics
News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
football
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
News
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
Voices
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Sport
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
sport
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little