Juan Mata has shed light on a frustrated dressing room atmosphere following Manchester United’s 1-1 draw with AFC Bournemouth last Saturday.
Marcos Rojo, in what was a truly feisty encounter, sent Man United into the lead after 23 minutes, only for Joshua King to then level from the spot five minutes before half time.
Jose Mourinho‘s men created 21 chances, received a rare penalty and saw Bournemouth go down to ten men, but somehow couldn’t come away with three points.
And Mata, writing in his weekly blog, was unable to hide his frustration at yet another draw at home to a lesser side.
“This weekend has ended is a less cheerful way than the last one, when we won the EFL Cup title, as you know,” he wrote.
“All of us felt very frustrated after the draw against Bournemouth on Saturday, it’s the same feeling that we had a few months ago after some similar games at Old Trafford. Unfortunately, we have that sense of déjà vu again.
“We played good football, we created chances, but yet again we weren’t efficient enough to turn that into a better score. We let two points slip away, that’s clear, and all we can do now is to look ahead because we are facing many challenges in just a few days.
“As I always say, the good thing is that soon after a defeat you have an opportunity to make it up. Football doesn’t stop and it always gives you another chance to release your rage doing what you like most.
“We have four games to play before the international break and each of them is going to be a special challenge. First of all we have the Europa League tie against Rostov, including a long trip, that is going to test the strength of the team in every sense.
“The Russian side is particularly strong at home: this season they have defeated Bayern Munich and Ajax, for instance. That gives you an idea of how tough they are.
“And four days later we will play in the FA Cup against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Another key game, a top-level tie in such a special competition. We will need to play a great game if we want to celebrate back-to-back FA Cup titles at Wembley.”
Mata’s display against Eddie Howe’s side served as an important example – a microcosm, if you will – of United’s approach to games at home this season: clearly dominant, tidy on the ball, always looking to move play forward, but ultimately lacking that killer instinct.
The Spaniard has, to his credit, enjoyed a relatively fruitful campaign in front of goal under Mourinho, seconding Zlatan Ibrahimovic‘s leading total of 26 goals with nine goals. But this is not enough for a side that aspires to breach the top four and claim silverware. Bournemouth were there for the taking and Mata, alongside many others, came up short once again.