Hard yards in training paying off, says Mata
Juan Mata believes hard work on the training ground is behind Manchester United’s run of results in pre-season.
The Spaniard scored the only goal of the game from the penalty spot in injury time to give the Reds a 1-0 win over Kristiansund in Oslo - our fifth victory in a row this summer.
“To be honest, we’ve been training quite hard,” Mata told MUTV after the match at the Ullevaal Stadium.
“The first two-and-a-half weeks were quite physically tougher than last season. Obviously, the results have been better also, winning every single game.
“But I think it’s good also for Ole and for his staff to have a full pre-season where we can play the way he wants us to play.
“We have time to train our patterns a little bit, we have time to train tactically [and] physically, so I think it’s been good.”
Mata, who won the spot-kick himself after being brought down by goalkeeper Andreas Vaikla, is already looking ahead to facing AC Milan in the International Champions Cup on Saturday, which you can watch live on MUTV.
It’s our final test before the visit of his former club Chelsea on 11 August - and the Spaniard is positive about the feeling within the squad ahead of the new Premier League season.
“We know we have to do better than last season and I think in this pre-season we are showing that we are good as a team, the atmosphere is good and the results are coming,” he enthused.
“I think the manager said it not long ago. The atmosphere is very good. We have very nice people in the dressing room, everyone trying to help.
“Everyone [is] demanding from each other, which is what I think we need to do in a club like Manchester United.
“In every single training we have to set higher standards; that's the only way to compete and we know we have to do that.”
Tuesday's friendly – against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s hometown club – was played in front of a passionate crowd at Norway’s national stadium and Mata was impressed with the turnout.
“The support in here has been incredible - like in Australia, Singapore, China. It’s a blessing to be in this club to be honest and travel around the world and feel what we feel,” the 31-year-old added.
“To our supporters we can only say thank you, thank you for being with us in these difficult moments and for myself I will try to leave everything I have on the training ground and on the pitch to represent this club the best I can.”
United's final pre-season game against AC Milan in the International Champions Cup will be shown live on MUTV.