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Juan Mata: 'Lack of consistency' cost Manchester United title challenge

Juan Mata says a "lack of consistency" cost Manchester United any hope of lifting the Premier League title this season, but he has "high hopes" for next term after ending the 2016-17 campaign with Europa League success.

United finished the season sixth in the Premier League table, 24 points behind champions Chelsea.

Jose Mourinho's side beat both Chelsea and second-place Tottenham at Old Trafford but drew 15 games, more than any other team.

But after winning the EFL Cup, the Europa League and qualifying for the Champions League, Mata, 29, is confident of challenging for the title next season.

"We won the Community Shield right after the preseason, we lifted the EFL Cup trophy in London, in a very special game for me, and of course the final in Sweden," he wrote in his blog.

"But we are aware of our lack of consistency and effectiveness in the Premier League that prevented us from fighting for the title, which is what Manchester United is supposed to do.

Juan Mata is looking forward to next season.

"We have high hopes for the next season, but now it's time to take a break, switch off from football and rest until the start of the training sessions in the preseason."

Mata was reunited with his former Chelsea manager Mourinho at United last summer.

Mata was sold from Chelsea to United in 2014 by Mourinho, whose arrival at Old Trafford as Louis van Gaal's replacement prompted speculation the midfielder could leave Old Trafford.

But after making 42 appearances this season, including starts in the EFL Cup final and Europa League final, Mata says he is enjoying life at the club.

He added: "Personally, I have played over 40 games once again. It's true that I was injured for a month-and-a-half, something that had never happened before in my career, but at the end I was able to enjoy again what I like the most and I finished the season happy.

"I want more, of course, but I'm happy and proud of what we have done along the way. I hope that you have the same feeling, and that you are excited and really looking forward to the next season."

Rob is ESPN FC's Manchester United correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @RobDawsonESPN.

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