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Mata targets home comfort

1212629-25313206-640-360Manchester United must again make Old Trafford a place feared by other teams if they’re to return to winning ways next season, according to Juan Mata. United number 8 claimed that the home form this season played a major role in the dismal campaign endured by the club which culminated in United missing out on European football for the first time since 1990.

United lost seven games at Old Trafford this season, their worst return on home turf since they lost the same number of games in the 1973-74 season, as Manchester City and Liverpool thrashed the Reds 3-0 while Everton picked up their first win at Old Trafford in over 20 years and Newcastle and West Brom clinched three points in United’s backyard for the first time since 1972 and 1978 respectively.

Mata admitted there was no easy explanation to United’s dismal home form, particularly as they boasted the third-best away record in the Premier League, with their only defeats on the road coming at Liverpool, Manchester City, Chelsea, Stoke and Everton – a result that proved fatal for David Moyes.

“I don’t know why things have gone so wrong. We did not get the results we had to especially at Old Trafford,” Mata told a Spanish magazine.

“I remember it as one of the most difficult places to play as a visiting team. We need to bring that back. That is very important.

“Away from home, we are getting the results. We have been the best team away from home. That is the key point: to be reliable again at Old Trafford.

“We have to make sure there is no repeat of what has happened this season.

“We can be Manchester United again, as the club was in the last few years, winning Premier League titles.

“The belief in the dressing room is that we can again.”

Having arrived from Chelsea for a club record fee in January, Mata is adamant that United’s shambolic season will help him and his teammates improve ahead of next season, while the disappointment experienced since arriving at Old Trafford has made him a stronger person.

“It has been a year to learn. It has been difficult to move clubs, and things right now at United are tough,” said Mata.

“We have had some great games, but some bad ones too. I have learnt a lot. I have lived new experiences in my life, situations I have not had before in my career, such as at the beginning of the season when I was not playing a lot.

“It has made me a stronger person. I feel I have grown as a person.”