Old Trafford playmaker reckons that missing out on Champions League qualification could help the Red Devils thrive domestically.
Manchester United midfielder Juan Mata thinks that his side should take encouragement from Liverpool’s surprise title challenge.
Liverpool finished seventh in the Premier League last season, but they are guaranteed to finish at least third this term and could even win England’s biggest prize if leaders Manchester City lose at home to West Ham United on the final day.
One of the three major reasons behind Liverpool’s impressive campaign is that they have not been involved in the Champions League or Europa League.
Resultantly, the Reds have had to play much fewer games than their rivals, meaning that they have been fresher and less susceptible to injuries.
Unless six-placed Tottenham Hotspur lose to Aston Villa at White Hart Lane on Sunday, United will finish seventh this season and miss out on a place in European competition.
Mata, whose side must win at Southampton to keep the pressure on Spurs, thinks that a season without continental distraction could be a blessing in disguise.
“It can definitely be an advantage in the league,” Mata told the Daily Mail.
“Of course, I would rather be playing in the Champions League, but if we take Liverpool as the example – you have a team who have fought all the way to the finish without having played in the Champions League.”
Mata, who moved to Old Trafford from Chelsea in January, has scored five goals and provided four assists in 14 league appearances for United.
Southampton v Manchester United
Man Utd AWAY WIN (2.80)
“Utd still have a chance of European football next season. A win here and Spurs losing would put them in the Europa league. No team in the division has won more away games, Saints have nothing to play for and have failed to win 10 of their 18 home games whilst Utd have scored more and conceded less goals away than Saints have at home If they are up for it, Manchester Utd should be capable of picking up 3 points and put the pressure on Spurs.”