Mata excited by derby clash

  • Last Updated: March 24 2014, 19:24 GMT

Juan Mata is licking his lips at the prospect of playing in his first Manchester derby.

Mata: Looking forward to his first Manchester derby
Mata: Looking forward to his first Manchester derby

Mata only moved to Manchester last month, but he has gained a flavour for the one of the fiercest derbies in the country.

Mata missed the last big night at Old Trafford as he was suspended for the dramatic 3-0 win over Olympiacos which sent United through to the Champions League quarter-finals.

Juan Mata

8. Juan Mata

Title Number
Appearances 5 (0)
Goals 2
Assists 0
Yellows 0
Reds 0
*Current Season

The Spaniard returned to the team for Saturday's 2-0 win at West Ham and he cannot wait to take to the field on Tuesday against City at Old Trafford.

"The team has got confidence and now there is an exciting challenge ahead: our derby against City on Tuesday," the United midfielder wrote on his blog.

"It will be the first one for me and I'm looking forward to it. You can already feel in the streets that special atmosphere."

The victories over West Ham and Olympiacos lifted the dark clouds that had gathered over manager David Moyes following the humiliating 3-0 defeat to Liverpool.

The Scot's first season in charge at Old Trafford has been a big disappointment though.

United have lost five league games at home this term. The last time they were defeated six times at Old Trafford was in 1978.

But spirits in the camp are high following the back-to-back wins and Mata wants the team to finish the season on a high.

"Our morale has been boosted ahead of the next games," said United's club-record signing.

"I think it is vital to remain mentally strong and focused on our goals. That is how we are going to approach to the last stage of the Premiership. As if every game was a final.

"Next weekend we will play in Old Trafford again, this time Aston Villa. We must get better results at home."

Mata has been deployed in several positions since his £37.5million transfer from Chelsea.

The 25-year-old has mainly operated on the right flank, but an injury to Robin van Persie meant he was shifted into the number 10 role where he enjoyed so much success at Chelsea.

Moyes is confident that Mata can have an impact on Tuesday wherever he plays.

"Juan Mata came to play two or three different positions," Moyes said.

"You're never going to go through a season where you don't have injuries and that's why you need a squad of players.

"He's done well in all the games but on Saturday he was closer to scoring himself and maybe should have on a couple of occasions."


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