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Mata calls for United reaction after Sunderland defeat

Manchester United cannot allow their disappointing 2-1 Premier League defeat to Sunderland at the weekend to derail their ambitions in other competitions, says Juan Mata.

After suffering only one defeat in seven Premier League matches before Saturday's trip to the Stadium of Light, United were confident of boosting their charge for the top four against the relegation-threatened hosts.

However, David de Gea was unable to keep out Lamine Kone's late header as Sam Allardyce's side sealed a crucial win.

Mata – who played the whole 90 minutes – acknowledged the defeat was a huge blow to morale at Old Trafford, but called for an immediate reaction as they continue to fight for silverware in the FA Cup and Europa League.

"The only way to get to a better position is by working hard for the next game," he wrote in his blog.

"There is no other way. Mourning is useless now; besides, there are still many games to play and many things can happen this season.

"I understand and share your [the fans'] frustration, but once again the way to overcome the defeats and the complicated moments is, in my opinion, by standing united, working hard and never giving up."

United's attentions move away from the league in the coming week with the return of the Europa League and FA Cup, with the former offering a potential route into the Champions League.

He added: "I understand this is not the best possible situation [being in the Europa League and not the Champions League], but it is what it is, and our goal is to keep advancing so we can have the chance to lift this trophy, which would come with a double reward. 

"My personal experience tells me that if we work for it with excitement it could be a positive way to finish the season, as I lived three seasons ago [at Chelsea]."