Mata hailed Leicester City as he said it's more difficult than ever to qualify for the Champions League.
It is "more difficult" than ever to break into the Premier League's top four these days, says Manchester United midfield star Juan Mata.
The Red Devils sit in 12th spot in the table after their most recent defeat to Newcastle United at St James Park on Sunday.
The 31-year-old, who moved to Old Trafford from Stamford Bridge back in January 2014, said with various sides improving in the league, it’s harder to seal a Champions League spot.
"I think every club is improving and clubs like Leicester are recruiting really well and they have very good players that can take them to a different level," Mata told Sky Sports.
"Not long ago [Leicester] won the Premier League so they know what it takes to win.
"Football is more difficult now because every club is growing a lot so it's more competitive and every club is able to sign good players. So you have to be better every single season to try and reach your aims."
On Paul Pogba, who missed the last two games AZ Alkmaar and Newcastle United respectively, the Spain international said: "Paul is genuinely a great guy. He's positive towards life and he's positive towards football.
"He's injured now but his attitude is good. As a midfielder, I've spoken many times about him, he's very complete as a player.
"For every club he would be very important, and for us he is very important."