Juan Mata in training.

'I hope Messi won't be as inspired next month'

Hi everyone. For the first time in weeks, I have to write after being knocked out of something. It hurts to say that Saturday’s defeat against Wolves was deserved, as it saw us head out of the FA Cup and you all know the hopes that we had riding on this competition, especially after progressing through some really tough knock-out ties.

We fought until the very last minute but they were better than us and we have to accept it. These are the kinds of situations that put your personality and the spirit in the dressing room to the test, which is something we’ve talked about when we have been winning. I’m sure that we are going to leave this defeat behind and head towards the most important part of the season with our batteries fully charged after the international break. The time is approaching.

It is a shame, as the FA Cup game saw my return from the injury that I suffered against Liverpool, and I was feeling good on the physical side of things. I featured in the later stages and felt fine, although what would have made me feel even better would have been mounting a comeback up on the scoreboard too.

Eyes on the Champions League
says

Our quarter-final opponents Barcelona won 4-1 at Real Betis, where Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick and was afforded a standing ovation. Luis Suarez also netted, but went off injured.

On the other hand, on Friday the draw for the Champions League took place, where we have been matched up with Barcelona. Obviously, it is a huge challenge, but this is what this club is made of, overcoming adversity, demanding a lot from yourself and wanting to win.

As Barça are one of the toughest opponents in world football, we will have to put all of that into practice. For the boss, returning to Camp Nou will be very special, as well as for everyone who was there on that special night in May 1999.

This tie will ask us to put in a huge effort, but we are ready to give our best to try to go through.

In La Liga, Barça beat Real Betis, thanks to another masterclass from Lionel Messi [the Argentinian scored a hat-trick in a 4-1 away victory for the leaders and received a standing ovation from the home supporters], and we will have to hope that he isn’t so inspired when we play against them.

Hugs, Juan.

You can read my full blog post here on my website, JuanMata8.com.

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