Mata: A final is always special

Manchester United playmaker Juan Mata has rubbished suggestions they might not be taking the EFL Cup final seriously because they are prioritising other tournaments.

The League Cup is often used by Premier League managers as an opportunity to give fringe squad members some game time or younger players some much-needed first team experience.

However, it remains an historic competition in English football and many teams and managers start to take it more seriously when they qualify for the later stages.

Manchester United face Southampton in the final on Sunday and represents a chance for the Red Devils to pick up their second piece of silverware under Jose Mourinho, after they beat Leicester City in the Community Shield at the start of the campaign.

Mata reveals the Portuguese mentor has stressed the importance of the competition to the squad.

“He has told us and I think everyone realises how important it is,” the midfielder told Sky Sports. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a League Cup final…a final is a final and you never know when you will play one again.

“So you have to take advantage of the chance and try to win it. If you lose it’s a bad feeling.

“A final is always a special day in your career. Obviously if you win it’s much better, but playing a final at Wembley in front of lots of our supporters gives the day a different feeling.”

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