Juan Mata believes that Manchester United failed to qualify for the Champions League this season because they weren’t consistent enough.
Manchester City, fourth in the Premier League table, drew 1-1 with Swansea City on Sunday, meaning that Man United will be playing Europa League football next term barring a huge swing in goal difference in Tuesday’s rearranged fixture against Bournemouth.
Mata revealed that the result leaves a “bad taste” but admitted that injuries didn’t help his side.
“We will have to close the Premier League season on Tuesday. It’s going to be a bittersweet farewell to Old Trafford, now that we know we won’t be playing the Champions League next season,” Mata wrote in his blog.
“It leaves us with a bad taste because, even if we enjoyed good moments together throughout the season, we weren’t consistent enough to qualify for the top European competition.
“It’s true that we found many difficulties along the way, especially if we talk about injuries (up to 15 players in several weeks, as far as I remember), but Manchester United must be ambitious and always fight for everything.”
United enjoyed a solid record against the top sides in the division this term but their inability to beat the so-called minnows has been their undoing.
A particularly damaging period over Christmas saw injury-ravaged United lose against the likes of Stoke City, Bournemouth and Norwich City.
Considering Louis van Gaal has spent £250m since he joined the club in 2014, it hasn’t been good enough, not even in the slightest. Even if United win the FA Cup this weekend, van Gaal’s long-term future at the club will undoubtedly come under question.