Juan Mata has insisted that the Manchester United dressing room is “excited but focused” following the 2-1 win over Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup fifth round.
Man United will now look ahead to a trip to Saint Etienne on Wednesday, where they will be expected to defend their 3-0 first leg lead, before returning home to prepare for the League Cup final against Southampton.
And Mata, writing in his weekly blog, has insisted that the squad is full of confidence ahead of a potentially season-defining week.
“I’ve just arrived home after the game in Blackburn, where we have reached the FA Cup quarter-finals,” he wrote. “It was a tricky game, as we expected, in a good stadium against a good opponent, but thanks to those two nice goals from Marcus and Zlatan we have made it to the next round of this competition where we are the defending champions.
“We were just leaving Ewood Park when we knew through the social networks our rival in the last eight: Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Needless to say, it’s going to be another special game for me… This is without a doubt one of the most complicated ties we could have, but we will go there with the big motivation of earning a ticket to Wembley and forget the bad taste of our last visit to Stamford Bridge.
“But before that, we have very important games to play…
“I won’t lie to you: this week we are all very excited about the first final of the season. I’m talking about the EFL Cup final that we will play next Sunday at Wembley against Southampton.
“In our last two visits to this special stadium we won two titles! But it’s also true that the next game is always the most important one, we know that, and in our case we have to remain focused on Saint-Etienne and the Europa League.
“We did a great job last week with the 3-0 win, but they proved to be a better team than what the score might say. It would be a big mistake for us to take things for granted. When you take things seriously and fight in all competitions you need to multiply your efforts, be smart and avoid getting distracted.
“The team is showing that and we want to keep the same way. We are entering the decisive part of the season and we are still fighting to win some of the trophies.
“As you become a more experienced player you realise that you must think about the next game only, otherwise it would be a mistake. We’re sure of that.”
United are in the process of building the ideal platform for a seismic crescendo to what has been a highly promising season under Mourinho.
Avoiding a three-goal defeat on Wednesday and victory on Sunday would see United head into March having claimed a major trophy and a place in the last 16 of the Europa League. Couple that with what promises to be an explosive finish to this season’s Premier League campaign and you have a truly tantalising few months lying ahead.