Juan Mata has spoken of the tense atmosphere in the Manchester United dressing room as their final game against Bournemouth was abandoned due to a bomb scare.
Old Trafford was evacuated and players were hauled away from their warm-up after a suspect package was discovered in the north-east of the stadium, leading to a 'code red' warning over the PA stadium.
Police described a 'life-like' but 'not viable' device, which it turned out had been left behind as part of a training exercise in an unbelievable blunder by an unnamed security company.
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Writing his blog on United's official website, Mata praised Old Trafford staff for their handling of the situation, but revealed the players' had an "odd feeling; something like strain mixed with a lack of understanding."
The Spanish midfielder, who has featured in all of the Red Devils' Premier League games this season, also expressed sympathy for supporters, and lamented the heightened fear engrossing football in the wake of November's Paris attacks, which began at the Stade de France.
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"I feel sorry for all those people who had to go back home without watching the game because that's what they had come for", he said.
"But what I'm really sorry about is that this kind of issues (sic) affect football, sports and society in general. Many of us think that sport has the capability to unite people, and we must keep believing that.
"It's going to be a bittersweet farewell to Old Trafford, now that we know we won't be playing the Champions League next season.
City pip United
The game has been rearranged for Tuesday evening, but United are now unable to apply pressure on City in the way they would have liked, but Mata wants to win nonetheless to give their fans something to smile about.
"Today, I feel sad because our supporters couldn't even have a normal last day of the Premier League, but we hope to grab a victory for them before the season expires."
City celebrated Manuel Pellegrini's final game in charge by all but beating United to the top four with a 1-1 draw against Swansea, a result which means Louis van Gaal will have to engineer a 19-goal victory over Bournemouth.
United will play in the Europa League next season, but they could still finish their season on a positive note after Sunday's disappointment by beating Bournemouth and then going on to win the FA Cup at Wembley next weekend.
Will Manchester United's season be a success if they win the FA Cup? Have your say in the comments.
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