David de Gea
Juan Mata says David De Gea has been Manchester United's best player this season. Getty

Juan Mata has claimed Manchester United "need to be fighting" for the title next season, while hailing the importance of David De Gea in the squad amid the goalkeeper's uncertain future at Old Trafford.

Mata had a difficult start to the season under new manager Louis van Gaal but managed to overcome the situation in the second part of the campaign to become a crucial player.

The Spaniard admits he made progress through the season, after scoring 10 goals that included a brace against Liverpool, but hopes both he and the club can improve their records next year.

"I think this season was a big step towards where this club deserves to be. We had a new manager with a new philosophy and we brought in new players. Next season we will hopefully play in the Champions League group stages, which is a massive objective for the club, and we'll be trying to win trophies," Mata said.

"[I want to] just keep improving and giving my best to this great club and to try to reach new goals. As an offensive player I want to score, assist and give 100% for the team, and as a club I think we need to be fighting for the title because that's what all the players and fans want."

The Spaniard also noted the importance of goalkeeper David De Gea during the campaign, against the backdrop of the goalkeeper's potential move to Real Madrid.

"He has a lot of talents but his calmness in any situation is what makes him special," Mata said.

"For me he was the best during the season – I'm very happy for him that he won the two trophies [at the club's Player of the Year Awards] – he's done it two years in a row now and it's well deserved."