Juan Mata says Manchester United face being caught by Liverpool if they do not end their scoring drought.
United suffered their third straight defeat on Saturday when they lost 1-0 to West Brom at Old Trafford.
United had 80% possession, but could not find a way through Albion’s rigid defence.
When Robin van Persie was presented with a chance to score from the penalty spot, he fluffed his lines and his effort was saved by West Brom goalkeeper Boaz Myhill.
Louis van Gaal’s team have not scored in their last three games — and Mata admits they have to rediscover their goal touch if they are to prevent fifth-placed Liverpool from bridging the four-point gap that separates the old rivals.
“The weekend wasn’t good for several reasons,” the United playmaker wrote on his blog.
“Obviously the 0-1 at Old Trafford is a tough score for us and we are forced to win as soon as possible: our rivals ahead keep adding points, and also the teams behind are getting closer.
It’s the tendency of the last few weeks: we have more ball possession than our opponent and create chances but we aren’t able to take them.
“We must focus on being effective because we haven’t scored in the last few games and we can’t afford it any longer. On Saturday we tried until the end but their goalkeeper was brilliant.”
Chelsea lifted the Premier League trophy on Sunday after they beat Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge and Mata is happy for his former club, but he wants to lift the trophy with United next season.
The Spaniard wrote: “Chelsea are officially the Premier League champions. I had congratulated my former team-mates already and I do it again: you have been the most consistent team this season. I hope the congratulations are to us the next year ;-).”
Meanwhile Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal accepts that finding a cure for his side’s misfiring forward line will be essential if they are to challenge for the Premier League title next season.
“We have to improve ourselves,” the Dutchman said.
“Not in creating chances but, in finishing, because that’s what we lacked. We need to play with a higher ball speed.
“Most managers say that but it’s more difficult against so many bodies in front of you.
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