• Premier League

Mata: United paid the penalty

ESPN staff
April 21, 2014
Phil Jones gave away a first-half penalty at Goodison Park © PA Photos

Juan Mata has pinpointed Everton's first-half penalty as the turning point of Manchester United's 2-0 defeat at Goodison Park.

Leighton Baines put Everton ahead from the spot after Phil Jones had handled Romelu Lukaku's shot in the box.

Mata then gave the ball away in the build-up to Everton's second goal, with Kevin Mirallas going on to find the bottom corner.

United manager David Moyes described the defending for both goals as "rank and rotten", a little over two weeks after he hit out at his side's "schoolboy" errors at the back in their Champions League quarter-final second leg against Bayern Munich.

"I hate this feeling," Mata wrote in his personal blog. "I feel very disappointed. This is how you feel when you spend two weeks waiting for a game, getting ready for it, and then things don't go the way you wanted.

"It happened in Goodison Park and the truth is this is not the first time, as you know. Honestly, everything looked good at the start and we were looking forward to winning the game for our fans, but their first goal from the penalty spot came as a blow.

"For them it had exactly the opposite effect: Everton got more confidence, especially after scoring a second goal, and since that moment the script of the match went to fit their needs.

"Despite our efforts and the chances we had by the end of the game we didn't manage to come back, and what the table shows now is something that neither the club nor the fans deserve.

"So far we were the more reliable side in the away games, but the streak came to an end this Sunday and it's fair to say that Everton deserve a lot of credit for their season.

"This bad taste makes me mad."

United have four Premier League games remaining with a Europa League spot all that is left for them to fight for.

Norwich, Sunderland and Hull all visit Old Trafford before United head to Southampton on the final day of the season, and Mata is targeting maximum points.

"We will keep fighting until the end, that's the least we can do because I honestly think that we owe many good results to our supporters this season, mainly in Old Trafford," Mata added.

"To get as many points as possible and finish as high as we can on the table is, unfortunately, the only goal ahead for us."

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