United’s defeat matters to Mata

United midfield star Juan Mata
United midfield star Juan Mata
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Juan Mata accepts Manchester United must learn the harsh lessons of their horrible start in the 3-0 defeat at Arsenal, but also not forget what took them to the top of the Premier League table.

Louis van Gaal was left stunned by the manner of the defeat on Sunday, where the Gunners had put the contest beyond his side with three goals inside the opening 20 minutes.

United had started the weekend top of the table but finished it in third place below Arsenal on goal difference, with rivals Manchester City having also romped to a 6-1 victory over Newcastle.

After the international break, the Red Devils travel to Everton and then have an away Champions League fixture against CSKA Moscow before returning to the small matter of the Manchester derby at Old Trafford on October 25. Midfield ace Mata, who is now on international duty with Spain, feels the squad have what it takes to recover.

“It is not easy to find words of encouragement after a game like this, but we have to carry on,” Mata said.

“Before the game our goal was to keep the top spot but it wasn’t our day as we saw from the kick-off. A start like this from us is unacceptable. If we want to fight for big things we must learn the lesson as soon as possible. The only thing I can say is that we shouldn’t play a game like this again.

“We tried to get back into the game, fighting until the end, but obviously we were penalised by our horrible start.

“Unfortunately, that was the end of a good month of September.

“Earlier in the week we had won against Wolfsburg in the Champions League, coming from one goal behind.”