FOOTBALL NEWS

25/03/2014 08:30, Report by Gemma Thompson

Mata's derby mission

Juan Mata says he is relishing his first experience of a Manchester derby and is determined to play his part in making it a memorable night for everyone connected to the Reds.

With Robin van Persie out injured, the Spanish international seems set to start behind Wayne Rooney in attack after the pair impressed together in the 2-0 victory at West Ham on Saturday.

The triumph at Upton Park marked a return to winning ways in the Barclays Premier League and given that United's last league game at Old Trafford ended in defeat to arch rivals Liverpool, Mata wants to give the fans something to celebrate on Tuesday evening.

"They are our 12th player and are so important to us. They deserve a reward from our side," said Mata in an interview with the matchday programme, United Review.

"What we experienced in the Liverpool game was unbelievable. We lost 3-0 on a very difficult day yet when we were walking off the pitch at the end they were singing and clapping. It was amazing. They deserve more nights like we saw against Olympiacos [last week].

"We need to show we can win against the big teams," he added. "It wasn’t a good game against Liverpool. Yes, they played well, but I think we can do better.

"It will be difficult because City are one of the best teams in the Premier League right now. They play great football and have a lot of quality players, but in our stadium and in front of supporters I think we can have a good game."

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