Mata and Herrera reveal their aims for 2018/19
With the dawn of a new Premier League campaign almost upon us, Juan Mata and Ander Herrera have outlined their ambitions and how pre-season has helped the two midfielders prepare.
Speaking in the latest issue of Inside United, our official monthly magazine, the Spaniards admit they've had their eyes set on the Reds' opening game, against Leicester City at Old Trafford on Friday, for some time.
“Of course,” said Herrera.
“I am already thinking about 10 August at 8pm. You are thinking about who you are playing, what Leicester will do in the game and about us trying to win the game, and hopefully we can start the season in the best way possible.”
“Obviously we think about the tour games but in the back of our heads is the first official game, which is the Premier League game, and we are looking forward to it. All these weeks I think are helping us to be fitter, physically, to be ready mentally and hopefully no injuries and ready to go.”
Herrera made 26 league appearances for the Reds last season and scored two goals in United's Emirates FA Cup run. When asked about his ambitions, Herrera spoke about the importance of putting the team before himself.
“When the team goes well, every single player goes well,” he told us.
“The only thing I think about is to try to win every game, but as long as you give everything, for the club and your team-mates, and the team, your fans will be happy with that. That's the only thing I have in my mind - to try to win every single game and don't worry about long-term objectives... just every single game.”
During United's pre-season tour of the United States, Mata, Herrera and Scott McTominay took part in an event with eco-movement and adidas collaborators Parley aimed at raising awareness of the health of the ocean and what humankind can do to cut plastic waste through reduction, re-use and recycling.
“I think it's very important to realise that we can all help and little by little - me doing my bit, you doing your bit - we can all create a better and healthier future for everyone and the Earth,” outlined Juan.
“I think it's something we all have to focus on,” Ander said,
“If we want to keep enjoying the world and keep enjoying this beautiful environment - the beaches, the coasts. We all have to help.”
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With players, staff and fans now fully focused on the first game of 2018/19, Juan had a message for the United faithful on the eve of the new campaign.
“Thank you for all the support they give us in the good and especially the not-so-good moments,” the midfielder said.
“And after that, we try, as always, our best. Sometimes we can play better or worse, but I personally, and all of my team-mates, we try to leave everything on the pitch.
”We try to make them feel proud of the club that we represent. I myself feel so proud of being a Manchester United player, of being a Red Devil and thank you, to all of you, and hopefully we can give them so much happiness during the coming months.
You can read the full interview with Ander and Juan in the latest edition of Inside United, which is available to buy now until 10 September.