UEFA Champions League football returns to enthral fans once again, but it looks like a player who’s going to be in the thick of the action—Juan Mata—is just as excited for the premier European competition to get underway.
“This Monday is the start of a special week. The Champions League is back and we are really motivated to have a great campaign. I love the Premier League, as you are all aware, but we also all know that the Champions League is a huge European tournament and the best club competition in the world, where every team searches for that ultimate glory,” the Manchester United midfielder expressed on his personal blog.
The Red Devils have been given a tough draw, with Juventus, BSC Young Boys and Valencia the other sides in Group H.
Most pundits have declared it a two-way battle between Valencia and United for second spot, with the Bianconeri expected to emerge as group winners, but Mata has warned his teammates not to underestimate the fourth side.
“We start against Young Boys, which is a big incentive for many of us in the dressing room who are yet to play against them. It would be a huge mistake to underestimate the Swiss side just because they aren’t as big of a name as other teams, with many of those huge clubs also featuring in our group.”
United travel to Switzerland to take on Young Boys on Wednesday night and will be fancied to clinch three points against the Swiss outfit.
“Young Boys won their league last season by a considerable margin and they have started this campaign by winning all of their matches, including those in cup competitions. We are talking about a team that is in great form and will be facing us hugely motivated, just as every opponent does when they play against Manchester United.”
United have not made the best of starts to their 2018/19 Premier League campaign, having lost twice already.
They did, however, return to form as they edged high-flying Watford 2-1 at Vicarage Road, following up on their 2-0 win at Burnley prior to the international break.
“It will be a tough start to the Champions League.”
“We come into this week after winning against Watford, at a stadium that is really tough to go to, so confidence in the group is high. We have a squad that can compete in every competition and in the dressing room everyone wants to show just that.”
After their midweek clash against Young Boys, United host newcomers Wolverhampton Wanderers at Old Trafford for a Premier League clash on Saturday.
“After the game in Switzerland, at the weekend we’ll play against Wolverhampton Wanderers. They are a newly promoted club, but they aren’t playing like it. Wolves have kept the same style that they played with last season, and they have already picked up eight points. That shows that they are doing things well.”
Notably Wolves are just one position and a single point behind United in the league table at the moment and Mata’s not the only one who feels Wolves will not be easy pushovers.
They’ve already taken a point off Manchester City this season and their solitary loss was a 0-2 defeat at Leicester City.