Manchester United must show the same focus and professionalism this weekend in the Premier League against Crystal Palace as the Reds did when dispatching Burton Albion 4-1 in the EFL Cup recently, according to Juan Mata.
Palace have started the season as one of the worst teams in European football, and are still yet to score.
But Mata knows that the Man United squad must be aware of a slip-up at Old Trafford on Saturday, despite their obvious superiority over the opposition.
“They haven’t had a good start so far but that can be tricky,” Mata wrote on his weekly blog.
“They have a skilled squad and I can tell you we will not relax. Last Wednesday, in the League Cup, we gave a good example of how to approach a game fully focused and motivated. That’s the way to go in order to get as close to our goals as possible.”
United were far from scintillating against Burton Albion in the EFL Cup, despite scoring four times. However, it was an utterly professional performance from one of the country’s biggest sides against a team from the league below.
Under Louis van Gaal, United succumbed to Championship-side Middlesbrough in the League Cup on penalties, and José Mourinho has so far avoided such an embarrassment.
The same mindset of ‘get the job done’ must be in place against Palace. Despite their early-season woes, United cannot afford to rest on their laurels.
A couple of seasons ago, Aston Villa were shown to be one of the league’s weakest ever sides. Yet United took just four points off them, and scored just two goals. The same cannot happen against Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace.