Man United want Champions League spot – Mata eager for Europa success

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Match-winner Juan Mata said Manchester United will be
doing everything they can to win the Europa League this season
in an attempt to qualify for the Champions League again
following the defeat of Rostov.

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United – who drew 1-1 draw in Russia in the first leg
– were superior for much of Thursday’s match at Old
Trafford, hitting the post twice in the first half through
Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

They had to wait until the 70th minute before making things a
little more comfortable, though, as Mata finished off a
well-worked counter-attack in a 2-1 aggregate win.

And the Spaniard is eager for United to go all the way and make
sure of qualification for Europe’s elite competition, with a
top-four finish in the Premier League looking tougher by the
week.

“That’s our aim,” Mata told BT Sport. “We always want
to win every tournament that we are in.

“Obviously it’s a good chance to play in the Champions League
next season, but there are still some very good games left in
the Europa League.

“The level is very good. But we want to play Champions League
next season and this is a way to do that.”

It took United longer than expected to break the deadlock on
home soil and, while Mata was happy with the football they
played in the first half, he accepted that their finishing
should have been better.

“Well, it was a matter of finishing our chances,” he said. “In
the first half we played great football, but couldn’t finish.

“You have need to score otherwise difficult to go through.
That’s why it was also important that we kept their score to
zero – Sergio [Romero] did really well with that.”

Ander Herrera was similarly frustrated with United’s lack of
composure in front of goal, even going on to acknowledge that
their inability to finish teams off is becoming a bad habit.

“These kind of games can look easy, but they are not easy,” the
midfielder added. “Rostov had nothing to lose and came
here to go through and I think we controlled it really well,
creating lots of chances.

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“But it is the same problem we’ve had all season. We are
creating chances but always the keeper, or the post [save the
other team] and we don’t close games, so in second half we have
to suffer a little.

“But we controlled the game and some points we played really,
really well.”

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