The 26-year-old Spaniard arrived in January to find a Manchester United side struggling for confidence under David Moyes. The midfielder left Chelsea after three years in which he won the FA Cup, Europa League and Champions League.
He has to his name a World Cup winners medal and a European Championships winner medal with Spain but now Juan Mata has outlined his ambition for this season with the Red Devils and it’s not winning the Premier League.
“We would all love to win the league but the most important goal - what this club needs - is to play in the Champions League again,” he stated.
“I cannot imagine a Champions League two years in a row without United.”
Under Sir Alex Ferguson it would certainly have been unimaginable for United not to qualify for the Champions League but new manager Louis van Gaal now faces a fight to push the squad into the top four this term following the disappointing season under David Moyes.
In pre-season the players appear to have an improved confidence and morale but it will take for the club’s stars and top talent to reassert themselves over the Premier League this term in order to beat the likes of Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal, Everton and Tottenham into those crucial top four places.
The club’s chief executive Ed Woodward has insisted the club are not concerned about the lack of Champions League football this term, despite losses projected to be around £40-50 million, which accounts for 10 per cent of the club’s total revenue.
Thirty-eight per cent of the club’s revenue comes from broadcasting, whilst their newly signed sponsorship deal with Adidas which comes into effect next year could also boost their financial health but a club of United’s stature and popularity certainly needs to be playing in the Champions League in order to maintain it’s popularity and the commercial success of its brand, which will be firmly in the minds of owners the Glazer family, even if it’s not on the manager’s or the players’.