Juan Mata has said Manchester United must stay strong to bounce back from the 4-0 humiliation at Chelsea and win Wednesday’s EFL Cup derby against Manchester City.
United manager Jose Mourinho suffered a nightmare return to Stamford Bridge on Sunday as Pedro opened the scoring for the Blues after only 30 seconds.
Mata, brought on at half-time, said the scoreline “hurts” and warned that United would have to bounce back swiftly.
“Things got complicated since the first minute,” he wrote on his blog.
“By conceding an early goal the game we had in mind changed completely, and from that moment we weren’t able to come back.
“Chelsea had a much better start than us and we paid dearly for it.
“We created some chances to score and get into the game, but I had the feeling that whenever we were close to doing that, we were punished with another goal.
“But we must carry on. Luckily, in three days we have a very important fixture, and as from now we must focus on this new opportunity to get better.
“We must remain mentally strong and keep going.”
Wednesday’s cup tie at Old Trafford will be the second time Mourinho and City coach Pep Guardiola have faced one another since taking up residency in Manchester.
An attacking display saw City run out 2-1 victors at Old Trafford when the sides met last month.
But Mata said he hoped United could use the cup game to compensate the travelling supporters who witnessed the defeat at Chelsea.
He thanked them for their support, saying: “You didn’t stop cheering us on through the 90 minutes, even when things became so difficult. You guys are amazing.
“We hope to give you the win that you deserve this coming Wednesday.”