Belfast Telegraph

The derby really does Mata to Manchester United ace

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

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

"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 last week 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 ex-Chelsea ace 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.

Belfast Telegraph

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