Juan Mata celebrates a United goal with Paul Pogba at Old Trafford.

Mata plans to close 2018 by rewarding the fans

Saturday 29 December 2018 10:00

Juan Mata wants to end 2018 on a high, by beating Bournemouth in a manner that will reward the Manchester United fans at Old Trafford and all around the world.

The Reds’ 52nd and final competitive game of the calendar year sees the Cherries visit the Theatre of Dreams on Sunday afternoon (kick-off 16:30 GMT).

United can claim a hat-trick of league wins for the first time this season and continue the feel-good factor garnered from a positive start under caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, after morale-boosting victories over Cardiff City (5-1) and Huddersfield Town (3-1).

Juan left the pitch to a standing ovation after an impressive showing against the Terriers on Boxing Day, when there was a good vibe around the stadium created by the fans who once again shown their unwavering support for the club.

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“It’s always a special game on Boxing Day, there’s always lots of kids with families around the stadium and there’s a nice Christmas atmosphere,” Mata told us.

“But our fans are unbelievable and since day one when I arrived, we’ve had some very good moments but also some difficult moments.

“It’s easy to support when you’re winning and at the best of your level, but when you’re in a difficult moment it’s very, very nice to feel everyone supporting you, everyone with you and waiting, and hoping for better times to come.

“That’s real support and that’s what we have. I feel and we feel very privileged to have the supporters we have at Old Trafford and around the world. When we win, it’s very nice to see them happy because they deserve better times.”

United can complete a double over Bournemouth for only the second time in the Premier League, after last month’s last-gasp 2-1 victory at the Vitality Stadium when Marcus Rashford scored a dramatic late winner.

Mata, who played 56 minutes of that game, felt the team took a lot from what was a tough encounter on the south coast and knows it will be another difficult match against Eddie Howe’s well-drilled team on Sunday.

When asked what he learned from November’s win over the Cherries, Juan said: “That until the end we fight to score like Marcus showed. It was a nice end to a difficult game.

“But I like Bournemouth, they have a good manager, they’ve played in a certain way for the last few seasons and they have players who know what they can produce for the team. They play in a very structured way, they like to have the ball and they’re a very good team.

“We play again at Old Trafford and we will try to show again how strong we can be at our home, respecting of course their manager and their team. I’m looking forward again to trying to get the three points.”

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