‘A crucial month’: Juan Mata confident Manchester United can step up to the plate in ‘massive’ games on horizon

Juan Mata has outlined the importance of a hugely important month for Manchester United after the English champions recovered from defeat at Olympiakos to beat West Bromwich Albion 3-0 on Saturday.

The Reds had not been in action for 12 days since losing their Champions League round-of-16 first-leg, and went to the Hawthorns having recorded one win in their last five games.

Speaking to United’s website, the Spaniard dubbed the next month ‘crucial’ but is optimistic that his teammates can get the job done in some difficult fixtures.

“It is a crucial month for us and, to be honest, I am very positive about it,” he said. “After being here for five games [before the West Brom match], I can feel it in the players that we have and the things that we can do.

“We know that we have to win as many games as we can until the end of the season and we have to start with this month. We play against very big teams like Liverpool and Manchester City and we will try to win as many points as we can.”

United’s next match is a meeting with fierce rivals Liverpool, who have effectively replaced the Old Trafford outfit as contenders in this year’s title race, while they face free-scoring Manchester City nine days later.

But despite losing both away fixtures this season, Mata is confident that United will benefit from the home advantage.

“Well obviously, every time I watched a game between Man United and Man City, or Man United and Liverpool, you can see that the whole country is watching that game,” the 25-year-old.

“It is a massive game for both teams, so now that I am here I will try to enjoy both matches. Obviously we will want to win and I think we can do it. We play both games at home and I think, in front of our supporters, we can do it.”

Goals from Phil Jones, Wayne Rooney and Danny Welbeck on Saturday enabled the Red Devils to gain some ground on fifth-placed Tottenham Hotspur, while Marouane Fellaini finally came good after months of injury problems.

United now sit five points off the Europa League spot with a game in hand, but could drop to sixth if Everton beat Cardiff in their catch-up fixture.

Regardless, Michael Carrick praised his teammates for overcoming the disappointment of losing in Greece to record a comprehensive victory at the Hawthorns.

“It was an important day for us, we had to bounce back,” he said.

“It feels like such a long time since the last game before the international matches, so we had to perform and really show that we are a good team.

“It’s a tough place to come, so to win like we have is a big positive.”

While the England international conceded that United have not lived up to their usual standards during the current campaign, he was pleased to have bucked that trend against the Baggies.

“It’s been frustrating this season because, at times, performance-wise we have controlled matches and haven’t come away with the results we wanted.

“You strive for the performances and want the results to follow, and here it did.”

Image courtesy of Bwin via YouTube, with thanks.

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