Manchester United's record signing Juan Mata has urged the club to rally around manager David Moyes, after insisting this is not the moment to "look for guilty people" as the Old Trafford club edges towards the end of a disappointing season.
Failure to qualify for next season's Champions League will be a major blow for Moyes in his first season as United boss, but his big January transfer capture is convinced the good times will roll again at Old Trafford under their current boss.
"We have to be together. Now is not the time to blame anyone. Now is not the time to look for guilty people," Mata told the Daily Mirror.
"Now is the time to stick together -- with the manager, with his staff, the players and with the people on the board of the club. We need to carry on, to stay with the manager. We need to believe in him, because as players we know we have to improve.
"It's not just the manager, it's not just the tactics. It's all of us. It's not the time to blame one person. We are all together in this.
"Some of my friends told me if this situation was happening in another club in Spain it would be different, but the club and the players are behind the manager. We need to be strong as a team, as a dressing room and keep working hard. We need to improve, we know it, but we need to do it together."
Mata's strongly worded statements are a boost to Moyes as he prepares for what is likely to be an uncomfortable first visit back to Goodison Park to take on Everton this Sunday, with the Spaniard signed from Chelsea admitting he expected his first few months at United to be challenging.
"Even before I came, things were difficult here, so I knew I wasn't coming to a side that was going to win, win and win," Mata said. "I knew as well that this club was going to come back and that the future was going to be bright.
"When I was in my situation at Chelsea, not playing, everyone I spoke with in football said; ‘Yeah, maybe Manchester United aren't at their best this season -- but it's still Manchester United!'
"It's not a team that's just played one season in the Champions League and you're going to a club that's not top level. No, this will always be a top level club, one of the biggest in the world.
"So if you don't play Champions League one season, you'll play in it the next year, or you will still win trophies, because it's what the club is about.
"I have no doubt about it. When I joined, in all my conversations with the board and the manager about next season, they were confident about getting the right players.
"They know, and I know, we're in a transitional moment, but in the summer they're going to try to sign a few players and I have the faith they are going to bring top players in.
"I'm sure this club is going to come back and fight for every trophy. Since I was a kid, Manchester United was fighting for everything and this moment is going to come back for sure.
"The club is in a transitional moment. They had Sir Alex Ferguson as the manager for the last 26 years, so I think it's a big change for the club.
"I don't know how many clubs in the world that have had the same manager for nearly 30 years -- probably none. That was a unique situation, but we have to look forward to the future, and I have to say I think the future for this club will be bright, because it deserves the best."