IBTimes UK

Manchester United star Juan Mata has hinted that the two yellow cards, which resulted in his sending off in his side's 1-0 defeat to West Bromwich Albion were harsh.

The Spain international received his first red card of his playing career as Louis van Gaal's side slipped on closing the gap on top four. The attacker was given the march orders in the first half as the Red Devils played with 10-men for the majority of the game at the Hawthorns.

"After almost 500 games as a professional player, this Sunday I was sent off for the first time in my career. As you can imagine, it's not easy for me to write these lines. The truth is this is a new and strange situation for me, not easy to assimilate, but we learn from everything," Mata wrote in his weekly blog.

"I know that, in football, we see things like these every week, but obviously what hurts more is that my team-mates had to fight with ten men for a long time."

"I have the feeling that both decisions were rigorous; that, in many occasions, we see more serious fouls that are not penalised in such a way, but at the same time I could have avoided them and I take responsibility."

United have been demoted to the Europa League after their exit from the group stages of the Champions League. After overcoming Midtjylland in the round of 32, they now face Liverpool in the last 16 of the tournament.

Van Gaal's men make a trip to Anfield for the first leg clash this Thursday, with the return leg being played a week later at Old Trafford. Mata admitted that his and his teammates' immediate focus is on the midweek Europa League tie against the Reds, who came from behind to seal a 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace.

"It also leaves me with a bad taste for the supporters who travelled to the stadium, and for those who were watching the game from home, but I must carry on as always and from now on I'm already focused on the next game, the derby against Liverpool in the Europa League," the former Chelsea star explained.

"In this sport there's no time for celebrations or moaning, and after last Wednesday's joy for the win and the goal against Watford, now I have to go through a more bitter experience. That's the way it is. What matters is to move forward and to always learn from each situation. And so I will."

IBTimes UK